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Can the government restrict sex offenders Internet usage?

Many people in Greenbelt know that people convicted of certain crimes in Maryland may lose certain rights, even after they have finished their punishment and are trying to get back into society. Whether it is losing the ability to vote or the freedom to live wherever they please, the restrictions on people who have been convicted of crimes is serious. Those people who have been convicted of sexual offenses may face a restriction on their use of the Internet.

These people are fighting back, however. There are some people who have been convicted of sex crimes that are now asking judges to review the constitutionality of a restriction or ban on many Internet social networking sites. One of the arguments is that the importance of social networks has grown so much that a restriction is a huge and unconstitutional limitation.

One of the individuals who have filed a lawsuit seeking constitutional review has said that he is severely limited in his ability to communicate under his state's ban. Not only can he upload his profile and resume to LinkedIn, limiting his ability to have a successful career, but he also can't communicate with his out-of-state relatives by popular websites like Facebook. What is particularly difficult for him, however, is that he is unable to monitor his son's Facebook account and general Internet usage. He has no ability to ensure that his son is acting responsibly on the Internet.

The lawyers who are helping to bring these lawsuits are arguing that state laws that ban those convicted of sex crimes from social networking websites are too broad and widespread. The laws can severely hamper someone's ability to substantially participate in everyday life.

When individuals are convicted of sexual offenses they face more than just a fine or time in prison. Rather, there are numerous laws and restrictions that continue to follow them after they've served their time. Because of these serious consequences, it is absolutely essential to find a criminal defense attorney that can help clear a suspect's name.

Source: CBS News, "Sex offenders fight for Facebook rights," May 30, 2012

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