ACLU Works to Overturn SARA Law

Anyone who lives in Brooklyn knows how difficult it is to avoid schools. Eighty-five percent of the city is within 1,000 feet of a school.

Sex offenders in New York thus struggle to travel across the borough thanks to the Sexual Assault Reform Act, or SARA, which has been in effect for 25 years. Parts of the law even apply to individuals whose offenses weren’t sexual at all.

Those who step into a banishment zone can wind up returning to prison. Law enforcement often gives conflicting information about where it’s okay for individuals who are impacted by this law to go or what they may do. The language is vague. SARA can make it difficult for convicted individuals to find jobs, secure housing, or even buy groceries. It can prevent some from moving back in with their families. 

It can even lead to some individuals being held in prison after their scheduled release dates. Some inmates are caged after their release dates for being homeless, held until they can find housing, and are given no help or support with which to find said housing. The state continues to profit from their labor. 

The ACLU lawsuit stands to leave the sex offender registry intact. 

Will the ACLU win? It’s difficult to say. A 2016 federal appeals court overturned a sex offense registration law in Michigan, ruling it as unconstitutional. There has been a similar ruling in Rhode Island. 

If you are convicted of a sex offense or any crime that might involve a child, you could be in danger of having your life restricted down to nothing by SARA provisions. In some cases, you can be hit by SARA restrictions if a child even happens to see the crime in progress. 

The collateral damage of arrest, conviction, and incarceration remains consistently serious, threatening a convict’s very ability to survive even if they get out of prison. It can feel impossible to get your life back on track.

If you’re being charged with any crime that might put you in danger of a SARA restriction, it’s imperative that you don’t leave your case up to a public defender. You need a highly qualified, private defense lawyer to protect your rights and interests and to bring your case to its best possible outcome. 

Our office is available 24/7.

See also:

What to Contemplate When Considering a Plea Bargain in New York

Why Do Brooklyn Defense Lawyers Accept Guilty Clients?

Understanding Your Right to Effective Counsel

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