Most people have a basic understanding of the sex offender registry process in California. Those who are convicted of certain sex offenses are often required to register as sex offenders for specified amounts of time. Some even have to register for life. Registered sex offenders have to check in with local law enforcement regularly and provide them with a slew of information, including where they live, what they drive, where they work, their social media account names, and more.
SORNA refers to the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, which sets certain standards for individuals who register and notify the United States. When you initially register as a sex offender, you must give law enforcement your current place of residence. If you move, you have to report the new information to your local law enforcement agency within five working days of the move. If you regularly live in more than one place, this must also be reported.
If, after you initially register as a sex offender, you have not remained in one location for more than five days, you must report to the local law enforcement agency in which you are in on the fifth working day to remain compliant with California’s sex offender registry laws.
If you do not have a permanent residence, you must update local law enforcement in the area where you are physically present at least once every 30 days. If you move into a new residence at any point while being transient, you have five working days to report the new address to local law enforcement.
Many people hear the word sex offender and automatically think the worst, but there are varying ways that a person can end up on the sex offender registry. Just like other people in the community, there are times when a person may not have the means to support themselves. Many people, whether previously convicted of crimes or not, are homeless.
In other cases, sex offenders may have a job that requires them to travel for many days at a time. For example, a truck driver is often required to be away from home for several days at once. In cases like this, registered sex offenders may be asked to provide law enforcement with normal travel routes or general areas in which they work.
The transient requirements for a sex offender to report their whereabouts every 30 days to local law enforcement is a way to keep track of where they are. It would not be feasible to require every registered sex offender to have a fixed, permanent address, as this is often not an option for many people in society.
If a registered sex offender fails to remain compliant with registration requirements, they will face time in jail or state prison. A transient sex offender who fails to keep local law enforcement aware of their location as prescribed by law will be seen as non-compliant, and a bench warrant will be issued.
If a person was originally convicted of a misdemeanor sex offense and fails to register, they could face up to one year in county jail.
If a person was originally convicted of a felony sex offense and fails to register, they could face up to three years in state prison.