2007 Regular Session
To: Judiciary B
By: Representative Mims
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 45-33-33, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT FAILURE TO REGISTER AS A SEX OFFENDER SHALL BE A FELONY; TO AMEND SECTION 97-21-33, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 45-33-33, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
45-33-33. (1) (a) The failure of an offender to personally appear at a Department of Public Safety Driver's License Station or to provide any registration or other information, including, but not limited to, initial registration, reregistration or change of address information, or required notification to a volunteer organization, as required by this chapter, is a felony violation of the law punishable as provided in subsection (2) of this section. Additionally, forgery of information or submission of information under false pretenses is also a felony violation of the law punishable as provided in subsection (2) of this section.
(b) A person commits a violation of this chapter who:
(i) Knowingly harbors, or knowingly attempts to harbor, or knowingly assists another person in harboring or attempting to harbor a sex offender who is in violation of this chapter; or
(ii) Knowingly assists a sex offender in eluding a law enforcement agency that is seeking to find the sex offender to question the sex offender about, or to arrest the sex offender for, noncompliance with the requirements of this chapter; or
(iii) Provides information to a law enforcement agency regarding a sex offender which the person knows to be false.
(2) Unless otherwise specified, a violation of this chapter shall be considered a felony and shall be punishable by a fine not more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) or imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for not more than five (5) years, or both fine and imprisonment.
(3) Whenever it appears that an offender has failed to comply with the duty to register or reregister, the department shall promptly notify the sheriff of the county of the last known address of the offender. Upon notification, the sheriff shall attempt to locate the offender at his last known address.
(a) If the sheriff locates the offender, he shall enforce the provisions of this chapter. The sheriff shall then notify the department with the current information regarding the offender.
(b) If the sheriff is unable to locate the offender, the sheriff shall promptly notify the department and initiate a criminal prosecution against the offender for the failure to register or reregister. The sheriff shall make the appropriate transactions into the Federal Bureau of Investigation's wanted-person database.
(4) A * * * violation of this chapter shall result in the arrest of the offender. * * *
(5) Any prosecution for a violation of this section shall be brought by a prosecutor in the county of the violation.
(6) A person required to register under this chapter who commits any act or omission in violation of this chapter may be prosecuted for the act or omission in the county in which the act or omission was committed, the county of the last registered address of the sex offender, the county in which the conviction occurred for the offense or offenses that meet the criteria requiring the person to register, or in the county in which he was designated a sex offender.
(7) The Commissioner of Public Safety or his authorized agent shall suspend the driver's license or driving privilege of any offender failing to comply with the duty to report, register or reregister.
SECTION 2. Section 97-21-33, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
97-21-33. Except as provided in Section 45-33-33, persons convicted of forgery shall be punished by imprisonment in the Penitentiary for a term of not less than two (2) years nor more than ten (10) years, or by a fine of not more than Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00), or both; provided, however, that when the amount of value involved is less than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) in lieu of the punishment above provided for, the person convicted may be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for a term of not more than six (6) months, or by a fine of not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), or both, within the discretion of the court.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.