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SB 145: Amended Sex Offender Registration Laws in California

Posted in California Law,Criminal Defense,Sex Crimes on March 15, 2021

Sex offender laws do change from time to time. One of the changes to California’s sex offender registration requirements came in 2020.

California Senate Bill 145 (SB 145) was passed in an attempt to give judges the same discretion that they have for cases where a young adult and a minor engage in vaginal intercourse. In those cases, if any person over the age of 18 has sex with a minor aged 14 to 17, the judge had the discretion of whether or not to require the offender to register as a sex offender (if the offender is within a 10-year age range of the victim).

Who may be exempt from mandatory sex registration under SB 145?

SB 145 extends the judge’s discretion to cases involving oral and anal sex. Previously, any person who had oral or anal sex with a minor aged 14 to 17 was automatically required to register as a sex offender. Because judges had discretion in these cases for vaginal sex and not oral or anal sex, this was seen as an anti-LGBTQ+ practice is written into the law.

Perhaps the best explanation of why this law was necessary comes from State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco:

“A 19-year-old has a 17-year-old girlfriend and they have sex, that is statutory rape. But the law right now says that the judge does not have to put that 19-year-old boy on the sex offender registry because of the kind of sex that they were having,” said Weiner. “But if it’s a 19-year-old boy having sex with a 17-year-old boyfriend, the judge must put that 19-year-old onto the sex offender registry, even if it was completely consensual, even if they were boyfriends, even if there was nothing coercive or predatory about it.”

A sex crimes lawyer in Riverside can help you determine if your case is affected by SB 145.

When does SB 145 go into effect?

Senate Bill 145 Became operative on January 1, 2021.

This bill was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on September 11, 2020, and filed with the Secretary of State of California on the same day.

Does this change the potential sentence for a sex offense?

Nothing in SB 145 has an effect on the level of crime prosecuted against an individual or on the sentencing for that crime. The only thing that this bill does is take away the automatic sex offender registration requirement mentioned above. The laws against sex with minors remain intact in California – it is illegal to have sex with any person under the age of 18.

Who is still required to register as a sex offender?

A common misconception about SB 145 is that it legalized pedophilia. That is not the case, and these rumors started in an attempt to discredit the law from the outset. In fact, the reality is far from the truth. There has been an intentional misconstruing of the law in these cases, when the reality is that this legislation only eliminated the anti-LGBTQ+ inequality in the law that was on the books in the state of California.

SB 145 did nothing to change the fact that any person who commits a sex offense on a minor under 14 years of age still has to register as a sex offender. Additionally, any person who lures a minor for sex is also not protected under this bill.