Topics covered in this post:
- Who and Where are the Utah Sex Offenders?
- Can Sex Offenders Celebrate Halloween in Utah?
- What Laws Protect Children from Sex Offenders in Utah?
- Contact If You Have Been Wrongly Accused of a Sex Crime in Utah
For children, Halloween is about the fun of putting on their costumes, running from door to door, and filling their buckets with candy. For parents, it’s about being diligent in protecting their children from strangers and unwrapped treats and their homes from pranksters. Parents accompany younger children trick-or-treating and inspect the candy before indulging their kids in the big annual sugar uptake. For local Utah law enforcement agencies, the holiday is about fielding vandalism calls and enforcing traffic laws and anti-sex crime laws that keep kids safe on Halloween.
Who and Where are the Utah Sex Offenders?
A sex offender is someone who has been convicted of a sex crime against one or more adults or children. Utah sex offender registry laws require people convicted of sex crimes to be registered on the State’s sex offender registry. Convictions for sex crimes against children that compel entry into the registry include indecent exposure, downloading child pornography, sexual exploitation of children, child rape, and many other offenses along the spectrum.
Sex offenders in Utah can be identified, and their residences can be located in the publicly accessible UDC Sex Offender & Kidnap Offender Registry. As one concerned mother of three commented to ABC4 news, “Kids can encounter them at any time, any day.” Nevertheless, Salt Lake City police warn parents to search online before Halloween and locate registered sex offenders in their neighborhood before taking children out for trick-or-treating.
Police officials reportedly further suggest that parents avoid letting their kids approach homes if the lights are off during trick-or-treating. They explain that the lights may be off because families are not at home (perhaps they’re out trick-or-treating, etc.), or just don’t want to be disturbed. But, they warn them to be aware of whether the resident is a sex offender.
Can Sex Offenders Celebrate Halloween in Utah?
Many states impose restrictions on sex offenders during Halloween hours, sometimes called “No Candy” laws. In some states, the limitations may prohibit registered offenders from leaving their homes or opening doors at all on Halloween night. Others may restrict them from participating in distributing candy and other treats and may prohibit other activities.
The Utah Department of Corrections explains that in our state there are no specific Halloween sex offender laws. However, the Department emphasizes that there are certain conditions that do prohibit registered sex offenders in Utah from participating in Halloween festivities where children are present.
One veteran police officer noted that the danger around Halloween goes beyond only kidnapping risk. Some registered sex offenders also have taken pictures or shot videos of trick-or-treaters to use for sexual purposes. So, an abundance of caution is advisable.
Law enforcement recommends mapping out your trick-or-treat route and then cross-referencing it with addresses in the sex offender database that are located in the area of your route. Then, mark off any houses that are off-limits. Parents are also advised to walk or drive their trick-or-treating route in advance. For children who will be going alone, police emphasize that they should have a well-charged cell phone with them.
What Laws Protect Children from Sex Offenders in Utah?
Under Utah law, there are five child-protective zones where sex offenders convicted of a crime against a minor are prohibited from entering the area:
- Licensed daycare locations or preschools
- Public or private primary and secondary schools
(except those located on the grounds of a correctional facility)
- Community parks that are open to the public
- Playgrounds that are open to the public
- Swimming pools that are open to the public
Convicted sex offenders moving into Utah from another state must register within the first ten days of entering the state, regardless of their intended length of stay.
Convicted offenders in Utah must re-register twice per year, one time during the month of his or her birthday and again during the month that is six months after that month.
Sex offenders in Utah must register within three business days of each change of their primary or secondary residence, place of employment, education information, or vehicle.
The sex offender registration requirement in Utah continues throughout the term of their sentence and for an additional 10 years after the sentence is completed in some cases. In more serious cases, the registration requirement may continue for life.
If You Have Been Wrongly Accused of a Sex Crime in Utah
Wasatch Defense Lawyers is a group of criminal defense attorneys in Salt Lake City, Utah. We specialize in sex crimes defense. Our experienced team immediately goes to work to get charges dropped or reduced and keep you from going to jail and off the sex offender registry.