A facial challenge to a legislative act is the most difficult challenge to mount successfully. That is so, because the presumption is that any act passed by the legislature is constitutional, and the court will not strike it down if it can be upheld on any reasonable ground. An individual challenging the facial constitutionality of a legislative act must establish that no set of circumstances exists under which the act would be valid. The fact that a statute might operate unconstitutionally under some conceivable set of circumstances is insufficient to render it wholly invalid.
Defendant was a convicted sex offender from the State of South Carolina and was registered in that state. Defendant did not dispute that he moved to North Carolina wherein he lived with a girlfriend. Defendant was arrested in North Carolina for failing to register as a convicted sex offender in North Carolina. He was convicted and was also found to have attained the status of a habitual felon. Defendant sought to have § 14- 208.11 declared unconstitutional based on allegedly insufficient notice of the existence of the criminal statute itself. The lower court had found that North Carolina's sex offender registration statute was unconstitutional as applied to an out-of-state offender who lacked notice of his duty to register upon moving to North Carolina.
Is the requirement for convicted sex offenders to register in any state upon relocation is constitutional?
The court disagreed and held that § 14-208.11 was facially constitutional as applied to a convicted sex offender from another jurisdiction who subsequently moved to North Carolina, such as defendant. The court found that defendant had actual notice of his lifelong duty to register with South Carolina, which led a reasonable individual to inquire of a duty to register in any state upon relocation.