Situations that can lead to being put on the sex offender list

Teens having consensual sex, sending naked pictures of themselves or going streaking could be required to register on the sex offender list.

When most people think of sex offenders in Tennessee, they may envision someone who has committed some sort of violent crime, such as sexual abuse or rape. The National Sex Offender Public Website states there were 62,939 cases of child sexual abuse across the country in a single year, so many people who find themselves on the sex offender list did in fact commit a heinous crime. However, someone can be labeled a sex offender under much different, and sometimes more innocent, circumstances.

Teens having consensual sex

Most people are aware that an adult can get in trouble for having sex with someone who is still a minor, even if the actions are consensual. What might be surprising, is that purely consensual relationships can, and sometimes still, result in crimes requiring mandatory sex offender registration. Depending on the ages of the parties involved, the rules differ, but it is no defense to being labeled a sex offender that the relationship is consensual if the law requires registration.

Teens and naked

The issue of teens sending naked pictures has become more widespread as technology has advanced. For instance, today a teen can simply take a picture on his or her phone and text it to a boyfriend or girlfriend, whereas three decades ago it would have required getting the photo printed. Now that it is so easy to do, many teens do not think twice before hitting send. Possessing sexually explicit or oriented pictures, even taken between consenting parties or of oneself, can and does result in criminal charges requiring mandatory sex offender registration in Tennessee. Police will often search phones, computers and other devices when there is suspicion that another crime has been committed and this frequently leads to additional charges related to child pornography. The best course of action is not to take such pictures in the first place, delete them if received, and refused to resend or circulate photos received. If implicated in the possession or distribution of inappropriate material, the advice of a competent lawyer is essential.

People exposing themselves in public

Flashing, which is the exposure of a person's private areas, such as breasts and genitalia, can lead to a sex offense charge. Even if the exposure was done as part of a joke, like streaking across a college campus, it could still lead to charges being filed. Going to the bathroom in public is also considered indecent exposure in some states. Usually this exposure has to be done in front of a large group of people or a minor for a person to get officially charged with a crime, but that might not always be the case.

There are a lot of reasons a Tennessee resident may end up on the sex offender list. Whenever someone is accused of sex-related crimes, it may be a good idea to work with a knowledgeable attorney.