The California Sex Offender Registry
Sex offender registration in California has been around since 1947, however, it was not until 1996 when “Megan’s Law” was enacted, both at the federal and state level, did it begin to garner more widespread attention. There have been many alterations made to the law since its inception -some for the better and some for the worse- such as GPS monitoring and restrictions on where sex offenders could reside. Defined under California Penal Code section 290(b), every person convicted of certain sex crimes deemed “registrable offenses” are to register for the rest of his/her life with the chief of police of the city where he/she currently resides. This lifetime requirement is to repeated annually on his/her birthday. Additionally, registered sex offenders who currently reside in California to attend college and live on campus are further required to register with the chief of campus police if attending a University of California or California State University educational institution.
What Can Happen If I Fail To Register?
Failing to register is a criminal offense that can result in you being arrested and prosecuted for either a felony or misdemeanor. The charge level of failing to register is determined by the prior conviction that resulted in the registration requirement. Therefore, if you were previously convicted of misdemeanor PC 314 – Indecent Exposure and you failed to register, you would be charged with a misdemeanor. Penalties for PC 290(b) violations are significant and include the following:
- Formal (supervised) or informal (unsupervised) probation
- Fines up to $10,000 for felony convictions or fines up to $1,000 for misdemeanor convictions
- Up to 3 years in California State Prison on felony convictions or Up to 1 year in County Jail
Defending Charges Of Failing To Register
There a number of circumstances that can result in a person unintentionally failing to register such as being homeless and transient or being an out of state sex offender temporarily in California for business. Although ignorance of the law is not a reasonable defense, it can serve as an effective argument in mitigation which can be utilized to either reduce a felony PC 290(b) to a misdemeanor or secure a probationary sentence with no further incarceration. In rare and extraordinary circumstances, failure to register charges can be dismissed or tried to acquittal if defendant was not formally advised during his/her sentencing hearing that he/she would be required to register. In other words, you can not be convicted of violating a condition of sentencing you were never actually sentenced to.
Will An Expungement Under PC 1203.4 Give Me Relief From Registration?
Unfortunately, the answer is NO. Post-conviction relief by way of PC 1203.4 can be beneficial to your future employment prospects, a successful expungement petition does not erase the nor conviction from your Department of Justice record. Therefore, while a successfully expunged conviction would allow you to represent a clean record on a private employer’s background questionnaire, your sex offender registration requirement would remain in effect.
Why You Should Hire Our Firm?
Since 1987, our criminal defense firm has specialized in defending sex crimes. Both Paul Takakjian and Stephen Sitkoff are former special prosecutors within the LA district attorney’s office’s sex crimes unit with an unmatched resume’ of experience, expertise and success. Please call us at (888) 579-4844 for your free confidential case review.