From the 50 State Visitor Guide:
Utah Code Ann. 2019 §§77-41-101 through 77-41-112
Utah. Code Ann. §§77-27-21.7 through 77-27-21.9
U.A.C. §§R251-110-1 through R251-110-5
Registration Triggers and Deadlines:
“Sex Offender” is defined to include any out-of-state SO who is in Utah for more than 10 days in any 12 month period. §77-41-102(17)(b).
Visitors must register “within 10 days of entering the state, regardless of the offender’s length of stay.” §77-41-105.
Updates required within 3 business days. §77-41-105.
Residency/Presence and Other Restrictions:
Presence restriction: May not be on premises of a day care or preschool, public swimming pool, school, community park open to the public, playground that is open to the public. Exceptions for access to schools when carrying out “necessary parental responsibilities” and day care center or preschool when in building for other purposes.
Residence restriction: w/in 1,000 ft. of victim, with exceptions. §77-27-21.7.
“Sex Offender in Presence of Child Law:” Registrants w/ convictions involving minors under 14 years old cannot invite the minor to accompany him or her absent parental consent, with exceptions. §77-27-21.8.
Because “Sex Offender” is defined to include only out-of-state SO’s in Utah for more than 10 days in a 12 month period (see Registration Triggers & Deadlines at left), visitors not meeting this definition would, in theory, not be required to register & thus not subject to these restrictions during their visit. However, this theory remains untested.
Duration & updates:
Lifetime. Petition 10 years. Updates every 6 mo. §77-41-105.
Most recent visit: October 2023
Compared to other states, Utah’s restrictions on registered visitors shouldn’t be too tough to get along with. Yes it does have presence restrictions, including the usual boogeymen such as day care centers, schools, public swimming pools, community parks & playgrounds. I assume that, like me, you have no interest in visiting any of these places on your visit to Utah. Notice that the list includes “public swimming pools” but not the pool at any hotel you may be staying at.
Also, it says “community parks” but not state and national parks. That should be a relief since Utah’s national parks and monuments, national forests, and state parks are among the state’s biggest attractions.
Lastly, because the term “Sex Offender” is defined by statute to include only out-of-state registrants in Utah for more than 10 days in a 12 month period (see Registration Triggers & Deadlines), visitors not meeting this definition would, in theory, not be required to register & thus not subject to these restrictions during their visit. Admittedly, however, this theory remains untested. Still, you get ten days in-state per calendar year without ever having to test it. Most registered visitors should have nothing to worry about.
Utah has some of the most stunningly beautiful natural wonders of any state in the union. I had been there two years ago, and also the year before I went to prison. That first time I went specifically because I had no idea whether I’d ever be able to come back. Now that I have my chance I can never resist the chance to go back.
Unfortunately I have not yet been able to make Utah my main travel destination. Instead I have twice “slowed down” on my way through here to see a few things on my way back home from somewhere else. This time I was returning from the 2023 ACSOL Conference in Los Angeles.
Also, both of these trips were in the second half of October when the weather in Utah can be pretty darned cold. In 2021 I had just left Yosemite in California, where I got snowed on, and southern Nevada, where I had bailed out of a campground because the temperature that night was so cold. Did you know that in Spanish the word nevada literally means “snowy”? Be advised. But in 2023 the weather wasn’t quite as bad.
In 2023 my first stop was Zion National Park, which I love, and where I arrived as early in the morning as possible (even snagged a parking space in the Visitors Center parking lot!) and spent most of a day. The weather was pretty good, the park was crowded, and the bus trams were still in operation until the end of the month.
On my 2021 trip I stopped to see Bryce Canyon which I knew from previous experience can be done in a couple of hours. The bus trams there stop running at the end of September, so it was a matter of driving all the way in, stopping at each canyon overlook, and driving out. In 2023 I skipped Bryce Canyon because it was already mid-afternoon and I was trying to get as far east as possible to set myself up for Capital Reef and Arches National Parks the following day.
In 2023 I managed to find a well-priced RV Park to stay overnight. In 2021 I stayed overnight at a Utah state park. That was a mistake for three reasons: it was cold, the campground was crowded, and it was expensive. In fact the campground fee was almost as much as some of the motels I’d stayed at. So much for saving money!
This year I had set aside a morning to visit Capital Reef National Park. I imagine you have not heard of Capital Reef – but you should have. It’s truly spectacular. Then that afternoon I rushed over to Arches National Park, which is truly incredible. What I really regret is not spending more time there.
Even on a weeknight in late October all the campgrounds at Arches were full. However my Arches park map showed several campgrounds on State Road 128 just across the Colorado River from the national park, and although they were crowded I did manage to squeeze myself into a legal campsite that night.
Next time, I think I’m not going to try to race across a state like Utah and bang out so many natural wonders in the shortest possible time. Instead, I think I’d rather choose Utah as my primary destination, spend as many days there as the law allows (which as I said above is ten days in Utah) and really soak it in.
Nevertheless, on this trip it was on to Colorado. **Sigh**