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California Sex Offender Registration Requirements

Posted in Criminal Defense,Sex Crimes on March 26, 2019

The state of California takes sex offender registration very seriously. California’s Megan’s Law requires all authorities to notify the public of sex offenders in their area. The conviction can have a lasting impact on your life, since you must place your name on a public record if a court finds you guilty of certain sex crimes. If you need help combating a sex crime charge, contact a Riverside sex crimes defense attorney to build an effective case.

California Sex offender Laws

The California Penal Code and Sex Offenders

California’s Penal Code 290, also known as Megan’s Law, states that any person convicted of certain sex crimes must register as a sex offender. You must renew your registration every year within five days of your birthday or whenever you move. The primary objective of registering is for law enforcement 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.

What Crimes Require Sex Offender Registration?

Not all sex crimes in California require sex offender registrations, and some require shorter registration periods than others. In addition, not all sex offenders are on the Megan’s Law website. California divides registration requirements into three tiers, based on the severity of the crime, each with different penalties.

  • Tier 1 sex offenders must register for 10 years if an adult or 5 years if a minor. After the 10-year requirement, offenders can petition for removal from the registry. You receive a Tier 1 designation if you received a misdemeanor charge or if you received certain non-violent felony charges. These crimes can include indecent exposure, misdemeanor sexual battery, misdemeanor child pornography, and misdemeanor oral copulation. Unless the offender poses a threat to the public, Tier 1 offenders are not on the Megan’s Law website.
  • Tier 2 sex offenders must register for 20 years if an adult or 10 if a minor. You can petition for removal from the registry after the 20-year minimum registration period. Tier 2 crimes include felonies that are not applicable to Tier 1 or Tier 3. Examples of Tier 2 charges include incest, sexual acts with those unable to consent, oral copulation, or penetration with a foreign object. Tier 2 offenders are on the Megan’s Law website.
  • Tier 3 sex offenders face 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. You receive a Tier 3 requirement if you received a conviction for more serious sex offenses, such as many rape cases, pimping of a minor, and child pornography. Tier 3 offenders are on the Megan’s Law website.

What Happens If a Sex Offender Doesn’t Register?

If you must register as a sex offender in California and fail to do so, you could receive a conviction under California Penal Code 290 PC. Since Megan’s Law requires you to register whenever you move and every year on your birthday, you can face significant charges.

If your conviction was a misdemeanor, a failure to register will be a misdemeanor punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year. If your conviction was a felony or you have failed to register as a sex offender in the past, you could receive a felony for failure to register. You could receive a prison sentence of 16 months, two years, or three years.

You can fight a failure to register charge with the help of a California criminal defense attorney. You can state that you did not willfully fail to register, you attempted to register but something went wrong, or you received a false accusation. To combat this charge effectively, contact a California defense attorney now.