How the Sex Crime Registry Can Affect Your Entire Life
All criminal convictions will carry some type of penalty, such as jail time, probation, community service and fines. However, many sex crime convictions carry unique consequences that will significantly impact your life. One of the main consequences that accompany having to register as a sex offender is having your information posted online. How much information is posted depends on what offense you were convicted of. Some offenses fall under the home address category, and sometimes offenses when coupled with another offense fall under the zip code category, so that your exact address is not posted but your zip code is. There are also some offenses that will not necessarily require your information to be posted online, and there are other offenses for which you can apply to not have your information posted online.
If you have been convicted of a sex crime that requires you to register in California, you will most likely have to personally register at your local police station. This means your name, picture, and address will be listed on the registry which is available for public viewing. You will be listed on the sex offender registry for life. Registration as a sex offender is covered under California Penal Code Section 290, commonly known as the Sex Offender Registration Act. This law means you will be required to register as a sex offender for life as long as you live in the state of California. The sex crimes that will require you to register include rape, spousal rape, date rape, statutory rape, sexual battery, lewd acts with a minor, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, child pornography, pimping and pandering of a minor, child molestation, among others. See related blog: Meeting Minors for Lewd Purposes in Los Angeles.
California Sex Offender Registry
As you can see, any person convicted of a sex crime is marked with the modern equivalent of a Scarlet Letter. After a conviction, you must register with the California Sex Offender Registry. Again, it’s important to note this registry is accessible to the public, and all registered offenders can be found listed on the registry. A sex crime registry can affect an individual's entire life. This is true because the registry has a far-reaching impact that can affect an offender's personal relationships, job prospects and professional licensing, the ability to obtain housing, and psyche.
Information found in the Sex Crimes Registry became easily accessible to the public after the passing of "Megan's Law," . The State of California enacted Penal Code 290 in which it lays out the information about the offender and the crime that may be published. Today, there are . Let’s examine how sex offender registration can impact your life.
The Impact of Registering as a Sex Offender
As stated above, Individuals convicted of specific sex crimes must register as sex offenders. An offender must, within 5 days of their release from prison, register with their local law enforcement agency. They will report report the offender's information to the California Department of Justice, which oversees the . This includes maintaining the online list of sex offenders. At a minimum, you are required to update your information annually on your birthday. Some offenders, those considered to be transient or sexually violent predators, are required to update their information on a more frequent basis. An offender who fails to update their information will be marked as in violation of their requirements. You will be required to live a minimum of 2,000 feet away from a school, public park, or any other place children may gather. This requirement alone can make your life difficult, as you will have to extensively research any place you want to move. Since your neighbors can easily look you up online, you will be viewed as a threat and often the target of harassment. Even though you are a convicted sex offender, you still have rights. In order to protect these rights and freedoms, you should consult with a at Eisner Gorin LLP to review your situation and any potential legal options for removal from the sex offender registry.
A Sex Crime Conviction Can Impact Your Personal Life
The public nature of the California Sex Offender Registry often creates complications for offenders. Many offenders find that they are shunned by family and friends. Personal relationships often break down because many individuals choose to avoid associating with someone convicted of a sex crime, and this is often true if the sex crime was committed whenever the victim was a minor. As a result, many sex offenders struggle to reintegrate into society. Often times, offenders are left without meaningful relationships. This negatively impacts an individual's psyche and can cause mental illness such as depression.
Problems Finding Employment
Sex offenders often have a difficult time finding a job. Applicants often must submit to a background check in addition to disclosing their criminal history to the prospective employer. An offender cannot hide their crime, and many employers avoid hiring a sex crime offender. As a result, offenders may struggle to find a means to survive.
Limited Housing Options
Sex offenders often have trouble finding housing due to their status. Due to their conviction, many sex offenders are unable to rent or purchase homes due to their proximity to areas such as schools. Without a place to stay, many offenders end up homeless. Fortunately, California has begun loosening its laws and now affords certain offenders more housing options.
Removal from California Sex Offender Registration List
Having your name removed from the list can provide an opportunity to move forward and live a normal life. It is difficult, although not impossible, to have yourself removed from the sex offender registration list in certain circumstances. There are certain underlying offenses for which if you receive a certificate of rehabilitation, you may no longer have to register as a sex offender. In order to be eligible, you must:
- Have been a resident of California for at least five years
- No pending criminal charges at the time of the petition
- Not be on probation, parole, or in custody for any reason
- Have lived an honest and moral life for the previous 10 years since release
At your hearing, a judge will hear testimony regarding your petition. The prosecutor could object to your petition. If the judge determines you are no longer a threat, your name will be removed from the sex offender registry and your requirements under California penal Code Section 290 are removed forever. If you were convicted of an offense for which a certificate of rehabilitation is not sufficient to get you off of the list, then the only way to get off the list is through a pardon from the governor.
Not Every Allegation of a Sex Crime Results in a Conviction
If you have been accused of a sex crime, you may feel hopeless. It is an unfortunate truth that people who are accused of sexual misconduct are often considered “guilty until proven innocent” in the court of public opinion. In addition, once a formal case has been brought, the Los Angeles County prosecutor will do everything it can to obtain a conviction.
Fortunately, there are often many ways that a criminal defense attorney can defend against allegations of sex crimes. The nature of many sex crime cases means that they tend to involve one person’s word against another, which means that the case usually needs to be proven or defended through the analysis and presentation of circumstantial evidence. When you retain a skilled Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer at our law firm, our attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation of your case and determine what legal defenses may be available. If there are no defenses available, our lawyers will work to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution that minimizes the legal consequences you are facing.
Call a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney
Given the damaging impact that having to register as a sex offender can have, it is highly recommended that you consult with an attorney as soon as you are aware of an investigation or charges against you that involve a sex offense. As you can see from the above information, being convicted of a sex crime will have a lasting impact on your life. If you or a family member has been charged with a sex crime, seek legal counsel immediately. The skilled and experienced Los Angeles defense attorneys of Eisner Gorin LLP will review the facts of your case and zealously defend against those charges against you. Contact us today by calling 877-781-1570.