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California Sex Offender Residency Restrictions

Posted in Uncategorized on February 14, 2019

California Penal Code 290 makes it mandatory for any person with an applicable conviction to register as a sex offender with the city’s chief of police within five days of moving into the city. Convictions that could require joining California’s Sex Offender Registration include sex crimes, sexual assault, indecent exposure, lewd acts with a minor, and rape. Being on the California Sex Offender Registration comes with certain limits on one’s rights – including some residency restrictions.

Who Must Register?

California law requires anyone convicted of a qualifying sex crime to register with the public record within a certain time frame. Depending on the crime, those convicted may have to add their names to registries for life. The law applies to anyone living in California, even if only for work or school, as well as to people who received out-of-state convictions. Starting in 2021, a new California law will permit some types of sex offenders to leave the state registry.

  • Low-level sex offenders may leave the list after ten years. Crimes include misdemeanor sexual battery and indecent exposure.
  • Mid-level sex offenders may leave the list after 20 years. Crimes include lewd acts with a minor and non-forced sex crimes with a minor.
  • High-level sex offenders will face mandatory lifetime Sex Offender Registration. Crimes include rape, sex trafficking, and sex crimes against minors ten and under.

Whether you have to remain on California’s Sex Offender Registration for a decade or for life, you must comply with the residency rules while your name is on the list. You have five days from your release from jail (or five days from sentencing if you do not have to go to jail) to register with the local chief of police. You also have five days after moving into California from another state. If you are homeless, you must report to the police every 30 days. Sex offenders with dangerous medical disorders must update their registrations every 90 days.

Places You Cannot Live as a Registered Sex Offender

Not all registered sex offenders will face restrictions on where they may and may not live in California. Rather than imposing a universal law, the courts make residency restrictions on a case-by-case basis. In cases with residency requirements, however, the state is strict. Restrictions a person may encounter include not being able to live within a certain number of feet from a school, park, or other place where children gather. Some offenders may also face parole, extended probation, and/or a GPS monitor.

Proposition 83, or Jessica’s Law, made the laws regarding registered sex offenders in California stricter. It requires those convicted of felony sex offenses to wear GPS devices to monitor their whereabouts, both while on parole and after. It also extended the definitions of some sex offenses, established longer penalties for certain crimes, and eliminated the option of early release credits for habitual sex offenders with multiple convictions. Jessica’s Law also prohibits anyone on California’s Sex Offender Registration from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park. This extends to 2,640 feet for some high-risk offenders.

Options as a Registered Sex Offender

As someone convicted of a sex crime, you may have an option to restore your rights and get off the California Sex Offender Registry. If you qualify for a Certificate of Rehabilitation, you may be able to remove your name from the list. You must show you are a productive member of the community, and that you have fully reformed. You must also have no additional criminal convictions within ten years after the completion of your parole or sentence. Gaining a Certificate of Rehabilitation could eliminate residency restrictions that make it difficult to find housing in California. Hire a criminal defense attorney for more information about this process, or to find out if you are eligible for a pardon or expungement.