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SB 384: Sex Offender Registration in California

Posted in Sex Crimes,Sex Offender FAQs on March 2, 2021

Most people have come to understand that when a person is required to register as a sex offender, that they are required to register for life. However, California’s sex offender registry laws have changed. This state abandoned the lifetime registry requirement in favor of a tiered system of registry requirements. The Sex Offender Registration Act, which is also known as Senate Bill 384, was signed into law in October of 2017. The changes in this law became effective on January 1, 2021. Here, we want to discuss how SB 384 changed the sex offender registry laws in this state.

What is the three-tier system?

California now uses a tiered sex offender registration system, as do most other states throughout the country. Instead of automatic life registration requirements for sex offenders, all convicted sex offenders are placed into one of three tiers. The amount of time that a person has to register as a sex offender depends on which tier they are placed in.

In order to determine which tier a person is placed in, the following factors are taken into consideration:

  • The initial crime
  • The person’s risk of re-offending
  • Whether or not the person is a habitual offender

The three tiers to the California sex offender registry or as follows:

  • Tier 1: Tier 1 is used for individuals convicted of comparatively minor sex crimes. Typically, this includes most misdemeanors and a few non-violent felony sex offenses. The minimum registration requirement for Tier 1 sex offenders is 10 years.
  • Tier 2: Tier 2 is reserved for those who have been convicted of moderately-serious sex crimes or those who are facing a second sex offense (regardless of the severity of the first offense). This tier includes those who have been convicted of a violent misdemeanor and some felonies. The minimum registration requirement for Tier 2 sex offenders is 20 years. Some of the offenses that could lead to a Tier 2 registration include sex with a person unable to consent, oral copulation, incest, penetration with a foreign object, and lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under the age of 14.
  • Tier 3: Tier 3 is for those convicted of the most serious sex crimes in California. Any person placed into Tier 3 will be required to register as a sex offender for life in California. Some of the offenses that could lead to a Tier 3 registration include child pornography, kidnapping or murder in connection with a felony sex offense, many other forms of rape, and pimping or pandering of a minor.

sex offender registry laws in California

When does the law go into effect?

As we mentioned above, this law became effective on January 1, 2021. We are now in the beginning stages of sorting through existing registrations and reclassifying them into the tiered system. There has not been any serious discussion or legislative proposals to change the tiered system back to the way it was previously.

Who and when can you petition to be removed from the sex offender registry?

Beginning on January 1, 2021, the California Department of Justice will begin to determine in re-classify offenders based on their tier status. Any sex offender registration who satisfies the mandatory minimum requirements will be able to petition the local county court to have their names removed from the sex offender registry. Our Riverside sex crimes lawyer can help you determine if you qualify for removal form the sex offender registry in California, contact us today to discuss your case.