When Jeffrey Epstein was arrested on sex trafficking charges upon coming back to the United States from Paris, a local television station reported that one of its viewers asked if registered sex offenders are allowed to have passports.
Yes. You can get a passport if you are a Maryland sex offender and you can keep your passport if you are a Maryland registered sex offender. However, in both instances, the passport will carry a warning about the conviction.
If you are a convicted sex offender and you have a passport, your passport is automatically revoked. But, anyone convicted of a Maryland sex crime can re-apply and obtain a new passport.
If a convicted child sex offender has a passport, the State Department sends a letter notifying the offender that his or her passport has been revoked. In 2018 the U.S. Department of Labor enacted a law that automatically revokes a child sex offender’s passport. Once revoked, a registered Maryland sex offender can apply for a new passport.
The newly re-issued document will carry a statement that reads: The bearer was convicted of a sex offense against a minor and is a covered sex offender pursuant to 22 United States Code Section 212b(c)(l).
New passports for those convicted of sex crimes will also have this warning.
The crime that may disqualify an applicant from obtaining a passport is a conviction for international drug trafficking. In addition, those convicted of sex tourism crimes may be disqualified from getting a passport.
While a Maryland registered sex offender is not forbidden to travel to foreign countries, it is up to the country whether to decide whether to grant admission to sex offenders with such a warning on their passport. For example, Canada has the right to deny entry to Americans who have been convicted of any crime.
Convicted sex offenders cannot be issued a passport card, since the identifier label cannot be printed on there. Both the passport book and passport card serve as proof of U.S. citizenship and identity. The passport card cannot be used for international air travel. It can be used for entering the United States at land border crossings and seaports-of-entry from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda.
The 2018 law put into place by the State Department was prompted by a crime involving a seven-year-old girl who was murdered by a sex offender in 1994. That crime also led to the creation of the sex offender registry.
If you are charged with a sex crime in Ocean City or Baltimore, you should talk to a Baltimore/Ocean City criminal defense attorney. A Baltimore/Ocean City sex crimes lawyer can get the charges reduced or work out a plea bargain, among other defense options. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Thomas J. Maronick have experience handling these cases. The consultation is free.
The Law Office of Thomas J. Maronick is open during the pandemic and will continue to meet your Ocean City and surrounding areas, Baltimore city and Baltimore county legal needs. We can meet with you remotely if you have access to Zoom. You can contact Thomas Maronick on his cellphone at 202.288.0167, the law office at 410.934.3007 or via our website for a free consultation.