When you are convicted of a sexual offense in California, the Sexual Offender Registration Act requires you to register with your local law enforcement officials as a sex offender. Obtaining sexual offender status can be harmful to your reputation and income, particularly because it limits your access to academic and professional job opportunities.
Therefore, it is important to understand the different laws that have restructured sexual offense registration. In doing so, you learn of the duration that the sexual offender status will be visible in your records. Moreover, you learn the possible legal options to have your records removed from the sex offenders registry.
Working with an experienced sex crimes attorney is also recommended, as he/she can offer reliable assistance. For example, if you decide to petition your removal from the sex offender registration, you need a lawyer to represent you in court. At Sex Crimes Attorney, we have served many clients facing sex crime accusations throughout California. Our services include guiding you through the possible consequences of your case and representing you during the trial or court petitions. We will also help you abide by the sex offender registration regulations to help you avoid legal repercussions.
The Scope of Sex Offender Registration
Section 290 of the California Penal Code requires all persons who faced conviction after committing a sex crime to register as sex offenders. The penal code section is vast and has been subdivided into different subsections that give specific durations for a lasting sex offender title.
Under the provisions, registration as a sex offender involves informing the assigned law enforcement authorities of your location and whereabouts. Providing the details of your day-to-day activities will remain compulsory if you are studying, working, or residing in any part of California.
Introduction of the Tier System of Sex Offender Registration
Initially, persons found guilty of committing a sexual offense had to register as sex offenders for life. Subsequently, a convicted person had the title appear in his/her record even after serving jail time and completing the sentence. However, reforms have been made and presented through Senate Bill 384.
This new bill has created a more lenient sex offender registration system by creating three tiers of registering and new periods that align with different tiers. As a result, a convicted sex offender can now avoid having a record for a lifetime, especially if he/she committed less serious offenses in the first two tiers.
The organization of the three-tier system of registration includes:
Tier 1- Minimum Registration for Ten Years
After passing Senate Bill 384, persons convicted of sexual offenses may now obtain a compulsory registration that lasts for a minimum of ten years. Thanks to this provision, you can petition for removal from the sexual offenders’ list sooner than was possible before.
However, the provisions are only applicable to people found guilty of specific sex crimes that are not considered severe. As a result, you want to work with your attorney to determine whether the offense you were charged with attracts tier 1 registration requirements. Some of the common offenses under this category include:
Sexual Battery as a Misdemeanor
When you are found to contravene section 243.4 of the Penal Code by committing sexual battery, you may be eligible for a ten-year registration duration. The offense involves forcefully subjecting the victim to sexual advances that may not include penetration.
For example, you may be charged with sexual battery for kissing a person without their consent. While the offense is classified as a sexual crime, it does not necessarily cause severe consequences to the victim. As a result, you may obtain misdemeanor charges resulting in tier 1 requirements.
Committing Indecent Exposure
The offense of indecent exposure is prohibited under section 314 of the Penal Code. It includes exposing your genitals and other body parts considered private, like women's breasts, when in public. The intent behind committing the offense may be for sexual gratification or to annoy through indecency.
Nevertheless, indecent exposure does not commonly cause significant harm to victims who witnessed it, meaning it is also rightfully classified under tier 1.
Tier 2 - Minimum Registered for Twenty Years
Alternatively, the judge may determine that your case involves a moderately severe sexual offense. Consequently, your penalty will include registration as a sex offender under tier 2 for the offenses.
The division still offers convicted sex offenders the chance to petition for removal from the sex offender registry upon fulfilling the trial requirements. Hence, learning of the different crimes that are considered mid-level offenses under tier 2 is necessary. They include:
Engaging in Lewd Acts With a Minor Younger than Fourteen Years
If you are found guilty of conducting indecent sexual acts with a minor under, you violate the provisions of section 287 of the Penal Code. Moreover, the judge also considers whether the minor was at least ten years younger than you. Thus, the judge may enhance your sentence based on the aggravating factors.
Additionally, the offense of incest will attract significant repercussions that include registration as a sex offender under tier 2. Incest is prohibited under section 285 PC and involves sexual relations among relatives and family members.
Sodomy with a Minor Without Force
When you engage a minor under fourteen years in sodomy without using force, you violate section 286 of the Penal Code. Sodomy is an offense that involved oral or anal-copulation with a minor in this case. The penalties are often substantial, including the twenty-year minimum registration duration.
Tier 3 - Lifetime Registration as a Sex Offender
The last category requires convicted sex offenders to register and obtain a lifetime record. This is the most serious category, as it is reserved for the most violent and harmful sexual offenses. Often, the convicted persons under tier 3 are likely to receive long prison sentences that could extend to life imprisonment. Crimes included under tier 3 are:
The crime of rape is among the most violent and damaging incidents for victims, warranting extreme penalties for convicted persons. Under section 261 PC, the judge may enhance the sentence to life imprisonment in rape cases depending on the severity of the issue. Similarly, the offense falls under tier 3 and restricts you from petitioning against the sex offender title.
Abducting Minors for Prostitution
Moreover, section 267 PC prohibits a person from taking a minor away to introduce him/her to prostitution. The offense attracts harsh penalties and can quickly result in imprisonment for up to thirty years, on top of the lifetime regulations as a sex offender.
You need to remember that multi crimes fall under the different tiers. Therefore, you and your attorney should determine the exact charges you are likely to face/faced in the past.
Doing so will help you determine the appropriate tier of registration you should follow after your criminal trial conclusion. Additionally, learning of the registration duration will help you prepare for your petition in advance to help you apply for removal from the sex offender registry.
Requirements to Fulfill When Petitioning for Termination of Registration
When the registration duration under tier 1 or 2 ends, you may decide to file a petition to remove your records from the sex offender registry. However, you should note that filing the petition does not guarantee a successful removal from the records. Moreover, you will have to take personal initiative and file for the petition because you are not automatically entitled to the hearings.
Procedures Followed When Filing for a Petition to Discontinue Registration
Under the additional sections of the Senate bill, you will receive a statutory directive procedure to follow when filing for a petition. The specific instructions will be under section 290.5, which will begin operating on July 1st, 2021.
When you want to file for a petition, the process begins with a confirmation process on whether you have fulfilled the requirements set in section 290(e) of the Senate Bill. These provisions state that you will only be eligible to file for a petition if you have met the minimum time requirement set under tier 1 or 2.
Hence, the respective law enforcement agents in your area will forward your conviction report to court for analysis. The prosecutor or district attorney who presided over your criminal case should also receive the conviction information to confirm your eligibility.
If the prosecutor wishes to contest your petition application, he/she may do so through a hearing with the presiding judge. The main aim is to prevent you from succeeding in your petition based on a failure to meet all required sets under section 290(e) of the Bill. For example, if your petition for removal under tier one was filed a month before concluding the minimum ten years, the district attorney may successfully contest it.
Moreover, the prosecutor or district attorney can dispute your application based on the safety of your immediate community as provided for in section 290.5 (e) of the Bill. Under the provision, you may be denied a chance to petition if the community would be safer, thanks to your registration. As a result, your record may have to remain in the sex offender registry.
Nevertheless, your process may go smoothly, meaning that you have met all prerequisites, and the district attorney does not contest your petition. Subsequently, your petition will be successful, and the judge will determine your matter and deliver a decision. He/she does this by considering several factors laid out under section 290.5(a) (3).
Based on whether you have met all the requirements set out, the judge may grant or refuse the removal of records from the sex offender registry. Thus, if your petition is denied, you may re-file in one to five years after the initial verdict was issued.
Instances Where You May Receive Early Termination of your Registration
Thanks to the new laws to be implemented in the Senate Bill, specific classes of offenders can also request earlier termination of their registration duration. Under section 290.5 (b), tier two and three offenders in specified categories can benefit from this early termination.
Firstly, convicted persons under tier 2 are eligible for early termination if they were below twenty-one years when committing the sexual offense. However, the offense must not include human trafficking or any violent felonies involving sexual abuse under section 667.5 ( c )PC. The reduced duration allows the convicted person to file a petition after ten years of registration instead of twenty years.
Tier 3 offenders may also have a chance to petition after twenty years instead of having a record for a lifetime. However, the success of the petition is assessed based on section 290(d)(3)(D) of the Risk Assessment Instrument for Sex Offenders. If the judge finds that the offender did not pose substantial risks, he/she may receive early termination.
Application of New Laws in Juvenile Adjudication
Section 290.008 has provided two tiers for juveniles who commit sexual offenses and are declared a ward of the court. Under Tier 1, offenders who commit non-serious sexual offenses will register as sex offenders for five years. On the other hand, tier 2 offenders who commit more serious offenses have to register as sex offenders for ten years.
Moreover, the introduced provisions under sections 290.45 and 290.46 in the new Senate Bill provide guidelines for disclosing sex offender information to the public. The rationale behind disclosing the details of registered persons is primary to enable the community to protect itself from potential sexual predators. Therefore, law enforcement officers and agencies rely on registration as a sex offender to add information on online websites and directories. This way, anyone can find your details for your identification when you reintegrate into society.
Contact a Defense Attorney Near Me
After facing a conviction for a sexual offense, you may receive multiple penalties, including a compulsory order to register as a sex offender. The directives may lead to a semi-permanent sex offender status on your record, depending on the type of offense you committed. As a result, learning of the sex offender registration system and new developments under the Senate Bill 384 is crucial to your liberty. With the help of a sex crimes attorney, you can determine whether your sex offender status will last for ten years, 20 years, or a lifetime. Afterward, you can decide to petition for removal from the list through your attorney.
At Sex Crimes Attorney, we endeavor to provide top-quality legal services to our clients. With our help, you will anticipate the duration of validity for your sex offender status. Additionally, we can help you explore several legal remedies to help you petition against the sexual offender records. If you require the services of a sex crimes attorney in California, call us at 888-666-8480.