A conviction for a sex crime will have a lasting effect on the life of a convict. California’s sex offender laws Penal Code 290, mandates sex offenders to register their names with a local law enforcement agency if they are found guilty and are convicted of one of the qualifying sex offenses. In this article, you will learn about California sex offender Registration and the categories of qualifying sex crimes
California sex offender registry
The California Sex Offender laws require a person to register as a sex offender if he/she is convicted of certain sex offenses in California. A person convicted of a specified sex offense must register as a sex offender with a local law enforcement agency even if the conviction of sex offense was outside California. This law is applicable to every person living, working or studying in California.
California sex offender laws have many specified sex offenses that require registration under Penal Code 290 also known as Megan’s law. However, in certain cases, a judge can also order for registration as a sex offender even if the offenses do not fall under Penal Code 290 if the judge is convinced that you are a threat to others
Abiding with Sex Offender Registration Requirements
The California Sex Offender Registry maintains a database of the sex offenders at the California Department of Justice. The offender must register with the local police within five days of his release from prison or jail or five days after sentencing if there is no jail time. The main objective of the registration requirement is to keep the police updated on where you live, and to allow community members to identify you if they choose to search for sex offenders in their area. The offender will have to report annually to the local police within five working days of their birthday. Further requirements may include:
You are required to report personally to the police within five working days of moving. If you stay in more than one place or in different cities, you must report all such addresses. If you move to another state outside of California, you must register as a sex offender according to the laws of that state. In case the registered offender of another state does not reside in California, but work or study here you must register with local police where you are working or attending school.
Transients are homeless and have no permanent address, you must report to local police wherever you are residing presently in every 30 days.
If the offender is not in one location for five days after sex offender registration, they must report to police in the area where you are physically present on the fifth day of registration order under Penal Code 290.
If the offender moves into a residence, the new address must be reported to the police within five working days. If the offender becomes transient again, it must be reported within five days as well.
If the offender moves out of California, it must be reported to the local police within five days of that move. You must inform about the place where you are moving and whether you have any plans to return to California again.
- Being employed or enrolled in a California college
If the offender is employed or enrolled in a College, university or facility in California they must also report to campus police within five working days of enrollment and while leaving the school in addition to the initial reporting requirement applicable to all sex offenders.
- Sexually violent predators
A “sexually violent predator” is the one who has been convicted of a violent sexual offense or diagnosed with any dangerous medical disorder rendering a threat to society. Sexually violent predators must update their information with local police in every 90 days.
If the offender changes name at any time, the change in name must be reported to the local police in five working days.
If a person is charged with a sex crime that requires registration but found not guilty by reason of insanity, is still required to register as if you were convicted of the offense, in accordance with Penal Code 290’s Sex Offender Registration Act.
What are the duties of registration for a sex offender in California?
Registration means keeping local California police informed about the whereabouts so long as you live, work, or attend school in California. California sex offender law reporting requirements under Penal Code 290 mandates sex offenders to personally register their primary address with the local police within five working days depending on their release into the community.
- Sentence (imposed prison time)
- Release from jail/prison or
- Discharge from a hospital or mental hospital.
A sex offender is informed in writing of their registration before being released from jail, prison, mental hospital, or on probation. This information is forwarded to the Department Of Justice by the registering agency. It is updated daily on the website by DOJ. The California Sex Offender Registry maintains track of the next update needed, and if a registered sex offender fails to comply with the update requirements, the website displays the offender registrant to be in violation.
Previously, a conviction for any sex offense required lifetime registration. But, after the passage of Senate Bill 384, people convicted of a sex offense will have to register for a minimum of ten (10) or twenty (20) years. Only offenders convicted of the most heinous sex crimes will have to register as a sex offender for life and also allowing for some sex offenders to be removed from the registry California’s new sex registration system that requires registration of sex crimes is categorized in three tiers that determine registration requirements. Tier one is assigned to the lowest level sex offenders which carries compulsory registration of sex offenders for a period of ten (10) years. . Tier two is allocated to mid-level sex offenders, which includes mandatory twenty (20) years of sex offender registration And the sex offenders at the highest level are Tier three, which requires mandatory lifetime registration.
- Tier one (minimum 10 years registry)
According to the California Sex Offender laws, the lowest level sex offenders are charged with tier one which mandates registration for sexual offenses such as misdemeanor sexual assault, sexual battery inciting a child to prostitution, oral copulation, child pornography, indecent exposure, etc. The sex offenders categorized in Tier one must register for at least 10 years.
- Tier two (minimum 20 years registry)
According to the California Sex Offender laws, the mid-level sex offenders are charged with tier one which mandates sex offender registration for sexual offenses such as incest, lewd acts with a minor under 14, rape with a disabled person, sodomy with minor under 14 years, etc. Tier Two sex offenders must register for a period of 20 years.
- Tier three
According to the California Sex Offender laws, the highest level sex offenders are charged with tier one which mandates sex offender registration for a lifetime. This includes crimes such as rape, murder committed during commission or attempt of rape, sex trafficking of minors, forced spousal rape, aggravated sexual assault with minor, sex crimes against children under the age of 10, etc. Tier Three also includes repeat sex offenders.
Can a sex offender get his name removed from the sex offender registration list?
In accordance with California Sex Offender laws, the information of Sex offender which appears online under PC 290.46 includes:
- Identifying information (height, weight, eye color, scars, tattoos or any known aliases), and
- Home address
- ZIP Code, city and county
- An offense(s) that subject you to the registration of sex offenders under Penal Code 290.
Whether your address appears online or not depends on
- The sex offense you were convicted of , and
- Your criminal history prior to sex offenses.
According to the California Sex Offender laws, removal of name from Sex offender Registry at the end of 10 years or 20 years registration period for tier one and tier two registrants depends on the offense of which sex offender is convicted. It is not automatic. The registrant must file a petition in the court which can be denied by the court. The DA can request a hearing to oppose it.
Penal Code 1203.4 California expungement law allows a sex offender to get his name dismissed after successful completion of probation. It is known as expungement. It removes the charge and conviction off your criminal record.
This option is not available if you are convicted of
- PC286 (c): sodomy with a child,
- PC288(c): lewd acts with a child under 15 years whom you are at least 10 years older than
- PC288(a) : oral copulation
- PC288.5: sexual abuse of a child continuously
- PC289(j) sexual penetration with a child under 14 years whom you are at least 10 years older than
- PC261.5(d): statutory rape with a minor under 16 when charged as a felony.
In compliance with California Sex Offender laws under Penal Code 290.46, subdivision (e) certain sex offenders can apply for exclusion from the website.
Restrictions For Those Required To Register As A Sex Offender
California’s sex offender’s law is very strict. It was codified by Proposition 83, known as Jessica’s Law, passed in 2006. The California Supreme court found that many sex offender requirements cannot be mandatory for every sex offender. A case-by-case basis will decide what a convicted sex offender must do to comply with PC290. The requirements are determined by the crime details and criminal history. Hire an experienced sex offender attorney who can help you with the least restrictive requirements. Other restrictions for sex offenders are as follows:
- The offender cannot live within a certain distance of schools or places where children gather. Depending on how it is implemented in your situation, you may not be able to live in a large percentage of the neighborhood area.
- GPS tracking for a high-risk sex offender.
- Extended parole or probation for some crimes.
How does Megan's Law work in California?
The California Sex Offender Registry maintains a database of the sex offenders at the California Department of Justice. The Sex Offender Tracking Program at the DOJ maintains information on California’s list of registered sex offenders which is available on the DOJ’s “Megan’s Law” website. It displays the complete address of the registered sex offender. This information is divided into two basic categories as follows:
- Those who are convicted of the most serious California sex offenses
For example, a violent sexual predator, murder during commission or attempt of rape, kidnapping with an intention of rape, rape through force or fear, aggravated sexual assault of a child, etc.
- Those who have been convicted of multiple sex offenses.
Receiving A Governor’s pardon
A pardon by a California Governor is the greatest relief for a registered sex offender. The Governor of California is allowed to relieve you of your obligation to register as a sex offender even if you have been convicted of any of the above offenses.
If you do not qualify for a certificate of rehabilitation, you apply for this relief directly to the governor. A Governor’s pardon, except in rare cases, will not be given unless you remain crime-free for at least ten years after your release from jail, probation, or parole.
If you fail to register as a sex offender under PC290, your chances of obtaining a relief become less. Relief is given to those who successfully fulfill all requirements and not violated other laws.
If you fail to register as a sex offender, it is a violation of probation. A judge will issue a California bench warrant or a California arrest warrant to resolve the violation.
If you are imprisoned for this crime, it will make you ineligible from obtaining (or would at least significantly delay) an authorized relief from the registration obligation.
Receiving a Certificate of Rehabilitation
As stated in Penal code 4852, Rehabilitation Certificate is a court order stating that you are being rehabilitated and removes your obligation to register as a sex offender.
Obtaining a Certificate of Rehabilitation may be the second option to seek relief if you have been convicted of a sex offense and are required to register as a sex offender under Penal Code 290 of Sex Offender Registration Act.
If Rehabilitation Certificate is granted, it is then forwarded to the governor which then gives the governor an opportunity to grant you a pardon. Often Certificates of Rehabilitation are granted only when the petitioner has been released from parole for at least 10 years without any additional criminal history, fully-reformed and became a productive member of the society.
In compliance with California Sex Offender laws, California Certificate of rehabilitation can be applied seven to ten years after your release from detention or from parole or probation if you meet the following requirements:
- the court has expunged your case,
- No incarceration since your case was dismissed,
- No probation for the commission of any other felony, and
- Lived in California for at least 5 years prior to your application.
A certificate of rehabilitation will not be available if you were convicted of the offenses listed above in the expungement section.
Video Source : Shouse Law Group Channel