• Brad Keating

Tennessee Sex Offender Laws

Tennessee has implemented the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), which establishes the basic standards that a sex offender must meet to be registered and notified. The requirement to register as an offender is harrowing for most convicted sexual offenders.


Members of the public can look up the registration to find the names of convicted sexual offenders in the area. Those who are accused are stigmatized by registration, often for the rest of their lives. This can have an impact on their ability to find and keep a job, as well as where they are permitted to live. The registration number is also printed on the offender's driver's license.


Sex Offender Registry Law

Sex Offender Registry Law


Offenders are required to register as a sexual offender. They are then classified based on the sexual crimes they have committed. There are three categories that an offender may be labeled as, namely tier one, tier two, and tier three.


Tier One

This is the level for first-time sex offenders. Tier One sexual offenses include acts with underage children, and other acts such as imprisoning a child falsely, being in the possession of child pornography, and other such sexual offenses. The mandatory registration period for tier one offenders is 15 years.


If Tier One offenders have no sexual offenses for any period and no criminal convictions of more than one year, they may apply for removal of their registration after 10 years. Other requirements, such as taking Tennessee’s sex offender treatment program, must be met by the person seeking removal.


Tier Two

A Tier Two classification is for those who have a previous first-time sex offense conviction with a sentence of more than one year. Offenders in this category have committed a minimum of two counts of a sex crime. It also includes sexual offenses involving minors in solicitation or prostitution, luring a child to participate in criminal sexual activity, sexual relations with minors aged 13 and above, distributing and producing child pornography, as well as other listed offenses. Registration is essential for a period of 25 years.


Tier Three

Tier Three is by far the most serious of the tiers. It pertains to sex offenders who have previously committed a Tier Two offense and meet the other requirements of sexual offense laws. It also includes the kidnapping of a minor by someone other than their parents, sexual battery or sexual contact made with force, or by rendering a person unconscious or by drugging them, as well as other listed offenses such as attempted aggravated sexual battery. Registration is mandatory for the rest of the offender's life.


In general, convicted sex offenders confirm their registration information regularly, and allow Tennessee officials to update their photographs. Tier One offenders must update their registrations once a year, Tier Two offenders once every six months, and Tier Three offenders once every three months.

If you find yourself in the dangerous situation with a sexual offender, remember Tennessee's Stand Your Ground laws.


Being Removed From the Sex Offender Registry


Some sexual offenders may request to be removed from the sex offender registry, but only for some reasons. These reasons are:

  • The offense was statutory rape with a victim with a 10-year age difference

  • Registration occurred more than five years prior, but the offender was classified as a sex offender for more than 10 years

  • An offender was removed from a registry in another state, and that was the sole reason for adding him to the sex offender registry in the current state

  • It was a case of a juvenile offense, and the offender is now 25 years of age or older

  • The conviction was expunged or overturned


Laws Governing Where Convicted Sex Offenders May Reside


According to state law, no Tennessee sexual or violent sexual offender whose victim was a child may have a primary or secondary residence, or other kinds of living accommodation, receive offender treatment, participate in a Tennessee’s sex offender treatment program, or intentionally accept a job that requires the offender to work within 1 000 feet of certain property boundaries.


These include the boundaries of any public school, public athletic field, licensed daycare center, private school, playground, public park, recreation center, or other childcare facilities.


The same restrictions apply for setting up a primary or secondary residence, or any other living accommodation for a sex offender whose victim was an adult.


Can a Sexual Offender Reside Near a Victim?

Those who have committed a sexual or violent sexual offense in Tennessee may not live within 1 000 feet of the property boundary where the sex offender's former victims or the immediate families of the victims live, according to state law. They may not approach any previous victims within 100 feet, except as authorized by law.

Sexual offenders may not contact any former victims or their immediate family without consent from the plaintiff, or their parent or legal guardian if the person affected is a minor. Contact includes telephonic contact, by written or electronic mail, over the internet, or any other means of communication.


Can a Registered Sex Offender Reside with a Minor?

No sexual offender is permitted to live with a minor if the offender's victim was a minor. However, if the offender is the minor's parent, they may live with the minor unless one of the following applies:

  • The perpetrator's parental rights have been, or are in the process of being, revoked following the law

  • A sexual crime was committed by the offender against his or her child.


Violating Tennessee Sexual Offender Law


Violating Tennessee Sexual Offender Law


Violating any of these laws is considered a class E felony. If an offender is found by law enforcement to violate these laws, he or she may not request to be removed from Tennessee’s sex offender registry. The offender is also not eligible for diversion or probation until their minimum sentence has been served.


Furthermore, the first violation results in a fine of $350, and 90 days in prison. A second violation gets the offender a $600 fine and 180-day imprisonment, while a third violation costs a hefty $1100 in fines and one year in prison.


Contact The Keating Law Firm Today!


Those who are unsure about their rights as sexual offenders can contact The Keating Law Firm for help navigating these laws. A free consultation with Brad Keating can help offenders stay out of trouble with law enforcement and get their lives back on track. If you have been injured in Nashville, The Keating Firm can help with your injury lawsuit.