It is unfortunate that you were told by someone (a probation officer, a lawyer, etc.) that once your probation ended, your obligation to register as a sex offender would also end. This is simply not correct. In fact, failing to register can be treated as a violation of good behavior requirements and may result in the imposition of some or all any suspended jail/prison time previously imposed in your case. Moreover, failing to register is also punishable as misdemeanor, and a second or subsequent offense is a felony and in our experience is almost a guaranteed trip to prison. A person who is required to register can petition the court to be removed from the registry. Depending on the nature of your conviction(s), you must wait 10, 15 or 25 years from the date of conviction (or date of release from incarceration, whichever is later) before you are eligible to file. All court ordered treatment, counseling, and restitution must also be completed before you can file a petition. If the petition is denied, you must wait 24 months from the date of denial before filing a new petition.
This answer is given in accordance with the laws of Virginia and may not be applicable in any other state. It should not be construed as legal advice, as that would require a more thorough analysis of all of the facts involved in a specific case. If you need further information or assistance, please feel free to contact my office for a consultation.