LIFE-TIME SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OF IDENTITY UNDER MARCY'S LAW; FINALLY YOU CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT
One of the worst consequences of a sex crime conviction in California is the mandatory requirement of having to register as a sex offender with your local police department and put sex offender registry pursuant to California Penal Code Section 290.
Mandatory sex offender registration is a part of almost any sex crime conviction under the “Sex Offender Registration Act”. This registration is a lifetime requirement, meaning while you live in the state of California, you are legally required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life unless you pursue legal relief from this requirement.
Obviously, having the sex offender label will impact your personal and professional life. You will probably have difficulty maintaining employment and will be required to avoid specific locations, such as public parks and schools. You might also lose your professional license if you are a doctor, or other type of licensed professional.
We can help you decide whether to accept a plea bargain in your case. The sex crimes that would require sex offender registration include, but are not limited to: statutory rape, child pornography, child molestation, sex with a minor, lewd acts with a minor, sodomy of a minor, indecent exposure, oral copulation with a minor, lewd or lascivious conduct, and similar offenses. Under California Penal Code Section 290, the registration requirements include:
- Anyone who is discharged or released on parole from a county or state correctional facility must register with local law enforcement within 5 business days of their release.
- A sex offender must re-register within 5 business days of their birthday, every year.
- A sex offender must re-register within 5 days of changing the address of their residence or name.
Additionally, a registered sex offender who lives in California to attend college and lives on the campus are legally required to register with the chief of campus police, if they are attending a University of California or California State University educational facility. Call a Los Angeles criminal lawyer at Eisner Gorin LLP for additional information.
What Happens If I Fail to Register?
Failing to register as a sex offender is a criminal offense that could lead to your arrest and prosecution for a felony or misdemeanor crime. The exact level of charge for failure to register is determined by your prior conviction that resulted in the registration requirement.
For example, if you were convited of a misdemeanor indecent exposure, under California Penal Code Section 314, and you failed to register as a sex offender, you would be charged with a misdemeanor crime. It's important to note that charges for failing to register a sex offender are a separate crime. The legal penalties under California Penal Code Section 290 can be severe, and include the following:
- Formal or informal probation
- A fine up to $10,000 for a felony conviction, or $1,000 fine for a misdemeanor conviction
- Up to 3 years in a California state prison for a felony sex crime conviction, and up to 1 year in a county jail for a misdemeanor conviction
Can I Get Removed from Sex Offender Registration?
The Sex Offender Registration laws have just changed drastically in California. As of January 2018, persons convicted of sex offenses finally have the opportunity to begin the process of being removed from their registration requirements, and removing their personal identity and home address from the internet, as required under Marcy's Law.
Tier 1 Convictions
Senate Bill 384, effective January 1, 2018, modifies Penal Code § 290.46, and creates a 3 Tier system where the type of conviction drives the likelihood of success. Tier 1 convictions are the least serious types of offenses. These persons now have the opportunity to remove themselves from the registration requirement after 10 years.
Tier 1 convictions are Welfare and Institution Code wards under Penal Code § 290.008, those convicted of misdemeanors listed in Penal Code § 290(c), discretionary registrants under Penal Code § 290.006, those convicted under Penal Code § 290(c) which is not a strike offense.
Additionally, persons with Tier 1 convictions will no longer have their names and addresses publicized on the internet under Marcy's Law. There are exceptions to this for California Penal Code Section 647.6 misdemeanors. Contact our Los Angeles criminal defense law firm to learn more.
Tier 2 Convictions
Persons with Tier 2 convictions can reduce their lifetime registration to 20 years. Tier 2 offenses include all serious and/or violent felonies described in Penal Code § 290(c), offenses under Penal Code § 285, most felony sex crimes against a disabled victim, second or subsequent Penal Code § 647.6 offenses, and § 290.005 registrants with out of state convictions not comparable to a Penal Code § 290(c) offense.
Tier 3 Convictions
Tier 3 convictions are the most the most serious, and persons with these convictions still have the lifelong registration requirement and internet publication under Marcy's Law.
These include any Penal Code § 290(c) offense with a prior violent felony conviction resulting in registration, a person deemed to be a sexually violent predator, Penal Code § 667.61 offenses, a MDSO or NGI, those judged to have Sexual SARATSO “well above average,” and certain serious enumerated offenses and internet sex crimes.
An honorable discharge from DJJ/dismissal under WIC 786/sealing under WIC 791 is still a valid route for relief. A Gubernatorial pardon is still a viable avenue for relief, as is Penal Code § 290.005 (relief in state of conviction). However, Certificates of Rehabilitation obtained after July 1, 2021 will no longer relieve a person of the duty to register.
Procedure for Termination from Registration
The procedure for termination of registration is detailed in California Penal Code § 290.5. The registrant must live in California at the time the petition is filed; the registrant must not be in custody or on supervision (parole, probation, PRCS, MS), and the registrant must not have pending charges with could affect tier status or extend period of registration.
The registrant must file a petition in the Superior Court, in the county of residence, supported by proof that registration is current, and the petition must be served on registering law enforcement agency and the DA in the county of conviction.
After the petition is filed, the law enforcement agency and DA will notify the court whether petitioner meets the minimum requirements for termination. The DA can request a hearing. If the minimum requirements are met and no hearing is requested, the petition must be granted.
If a hearing is requested, the court must receive evidence and determine whether community safety would be significantly enhanced by requiring continued registration. If the petition is denied, the court must set a time period (1-5 years) after which petitioner can re-petition.
The court must state its reasons for denying the petition and for selecting that particular additional time period. (Presumably, reasons must relate to evidence that individual continues to pose a significant risk of sexual re-offense.) There are tolling provisions which may extend the minimum period of time required to register.
These include any periods of incarceration or revocation of probation or parole, or Misdemeanor FTR convictions or Felony FTR convictions. See related information: Early Termination of Probation in California.
Track Record of Success in Sex Crime Cases
The Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers at Eisner Gorin LLP have been successfully helping clients charged with sexual related crime for decades. Here is what one of our clients said about us:
My 40 year old brother was charged with a sex crime with a minor. Although he is a little slow developmentally, all the information I read pointed to substantial jail time and sex offender registration, even if experts found him mentally incompetent. My family was prepared for the worst case scenario.
However, Mr. Dmitry Gorin and his legal team managed to have the District Attorneys to not file any formal criminal charges at all. My brother was never charged and his case was dismissed. The entire team at Eisner Gorin LLP worked hard from the time of our initial consultation to case completion. I found they were very thorough with their case preparations and I never felt they were not working hard on my brother's case.
They answered ALL my questions through emails and texts within an hour or less. They are very familiar with the law and have an outstanding reputation that is respected by their peers, District Attorneys, and Judges. I also sincerely believe positive relationship Dmitry Gorin has with the DA's are critical when it involves negotiating. He has it all. Retaining Dmitry Gorin to handle my brother's sex crime case was the best decision I have ever made. – L.T.
Contact a Los Angeles Sex Crime Lawyer
This summary of the new sex registration laws is not legal advice. This is a new area of law. The likelihood of successes will depend on the individual facts of each case and an individualized approach to the specific cases.
You might be may be able to obtain relief from sex offender registration if you meet specific eligibility requirements. The Los Angeles criminal defense law firm of Eisner Gorin has decades of experience dealing with post-conviction issues for sexual related convictions. To get more information about your eligibility, contact us at 877-781-1570.