Being convicted of a sex offense will have a lasting impact on your life, since you must place your name on a public record if a court finds you guilty of qualifying sex crimes. You may be required to register pursuant to state laws as a sex offender for life. The stigma of being a registered sexual offender can ruin your life and devastate your family. You will likely experience humiliation and ostracization from your community particularly if you are required to be publicly identified on a sex offender website.
As such, it is important to be a step ahead. If you are being investigated for or have been charged with any sex offense, it is important that you seek a an experienced sex crimes lawyer as soon as you can.
You also need to be aware of what the requirements are for sex offender registrants as well as consequences of failing to register as required by law.
California’s Penal Code 290 also known as Megan’s Law, requires all authorities to notify the public of sex offenders in their area. The primary objective of registering is for a local law enforcement agency to keep up to date on your whereabouts and for your neighbors to stay informed of sex offenders in their area. Law enforcement officers post the information of sex offenders on the Megan’s Law website. The law applies to anyone living, working, or going to school in California, even if you were convicted of sex crimes outside of the state. According to California’s sex offender law, you may also be required to register as a sex offender if you are convicted in another state of an offense that would have been punishable as one or more of the offenses pursuant to Section 290.
Not only does California law have a large number of sex offenses that require registration, but the law also allows registration even for crimes not listed under Section 290 if the crime was deemed to be sexually motivated. While rare, this can happen if the judge in your case is convinced that you are a danger to others based on a “compulsion for sexual gratification or sexual abuse”.
A new California law that was established in Senate Bill 384 will alter sex offender registration requirements in January 2021. Not all sex crimes in California require sex offender registrations, and some require shorter registration periods than others. The law also allows for some sex offenders to be removed from the Megan’s Law website. California’s registration divides registration requirements is divided into three tiers, based on the severity of the crime, each with different penalties.
- Tier one has the lowest level of requirements for sexual offenses. You receive a Tier 1 designation if you received a misdemeanor charge or if you received certain non-violent felony charges such as indecent exposure, misdemeanor sexual battery, misdemeanor child pornography, and misdemeanor oral copulation. These sex offenders must register for at least 10 years if an adult or 5 years if a minor. After the 10-year requirement, offenders can petition for removal from the public sex offender registry. Unless the offender poses a threat to the public, Tier 1 offenders are not on the Megan’s Law website.
- Tier two involves mid-level sexual offenses or felonies that are not applicable to Tier 1 or Tier 3. It includes sex crimes such as incest, sexual acts with those unable to consent, oral copulation, or penetration with a foreign object. These sex offenders must register for at least 20 years if an adult or 10 if a minor. You can petition for removal from the registry search after the 20-year minimum registration period. Tier 2 offenders are on the Megan’s Law website.
- Tier three has the most severe registration requirements, All Tier 3 offenders must register as a sex offender for life and are not eligible for petition for removal. Tier 3 is for more serious sex offenses, such as many rape charges, sex trafficking of minors, child pornography. And sex crimes against children under the age of 10. Repeat offenders are also typically included in tier three. Tier 3 offenders are on the Megan’s Law website.
Sex Offender Registration Requirements
To properly comply with a sex registration requirement, you will have to personally register with your local police within five days of your release from jail or prison, or five days after sentencing if you do not receive jail time. According to law enforcement, the primary objective of your registration requirement is to keep police up to date on your residence, and to allow for members of the community to identify you if they choose to look up sex offenders in their area. At a minimum, you will be required to report annually to local law enforcement within five working days before or after your birthday. California Penal Code Section 290 mandates that sex offenders must:
- Register with local law enforcement agencies (police or sheriff), where they live and work, within five (5) working days of coming into the city or county.
- Register with the campus police, if they attend school or work on a college campus, within five days of enrolling as well as leaving the school.
- Update their registration information when they change their residence address or become transient (homeless).
- Update their registration every 30 days if they are transients (“homeless”).
- Update their registration with local police every 90 days if they were charged as sexual predators or have been convicted of a sex offense and diagnosed with a dangerous medical disorder.
- Report changes in name to local law enforcement within five days.
Restrictions For Registered Sex Offenders
While, California law is already very strict for sex offenders, lawmakers at the state and local government levels also impose restrictions on where a sex offender may lawfully live or be present. Such restrictions make it difficult for sex offenders to find any meaningful employment or affordable housing. Some of the restrictions you may be facing as a convicted sex offender include:
- Not being able to live within a certain distance of a school or place where children gather. Depending how this applies to your situation, you may be unable to live in a large percentage of neighborhoods in your area.
- GPS monitoring if you are determined to be a high risk registered offender.
- You may have extended parole, or even probation, for some crimes.
Your requirements will be determined by the details of your crime, and your criminal history, so it is important to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer fighting for the least restrictive requirements in your case.
Failure to Register as Sex Offender
The California Sex Offender Registry keeps track of the next required update, and if a registered sex offender fails to update requirements, Megan’s Law website will show the registrant as being in violation. Furthermore, it will also result in either a misdemeanor or felony charge depending on the underlying offense of which the registrant was originally convicted. Incarceration is as follows:
- Misdemeanor – up to one year
- Felony – 16 months, two years, or three years.
With the legal assistance of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney, you can fight a failure to register charge in California. Some of the common defenses are that you did not willfully fail to register, rather, you attempted to register but something went wrong. Your lawyer may also argue that you are being falsely accused. Our capable lawyers at the Law Office of Marc Grossman will do their best to build your defense in order to get the best possible outcome for you. Contact us now for a free initial consultation.