California Sex Offender Registration – Penal Code 290
The simple answer to this question is that many defenses are available to someone charged with a failure to register as a sex offender in Los Angeles. Of course, not every defense will apply to each prosecuted case.
The most common defense is that the authorities must first and foremost give the offender notice of exactly their requirements. If the person is not clear on what they are supposed to do, they would have a defense against this crime.
One of the first things that I look at is what precisely the judge told the person their responsibilities regarding registering as a sex offender when the plea was taken in the cases.
Next, we must look at what the person was told when they first registered. I am looking for inconsistencies in what the person was exposed to and if the person was not given enough clear information. Further, I have often seen that persons tasked with registering are given wrong or incomplete information at the police department when they go to write.
The only way to flush out some of the deficiencies in what a person was told is to prosecute the case. Still, the police on the hot seat ask them pointed questions about what they said to a particular person and the documents they made them sign.
In my experience, each person that comes into my office with this type of offense has their own story that applies to them and their particular circumstances. The key is to go in and be very honest about what happened and exactly what you were told and what you did. Once everything is out in the open, we can decide whether the case should be fought or negotiated.
See related: Factors that Determine Whether you have to Register as a Sex Offender in Los Angeles.
What Factors Must Be Proven in a Failure to Register Case?
In a prosecution for a violation of Penal Code 290 PC, a jury will be given the CALCRIM Jury Instructions that say to prove a defendant guilty of this crime:
- The defendant must have previously been convicted of a crime that required them to register as a sex offender. This means that the legislature has come up with a list of crimes that need a person to register as a sex offender. When the person pleads guilty to one of these enumerated sex crimes, they must register as a sex offender for the rest of their life.
- The defendant must live in California. This requirement is being placed there because if the person lives in California, they have to register with their local law enforcement police department on their birthday or be in violation.
- The defendant must know that they must register as a sex offender within five days of their birthday. When the person pleads guilty to the crime, they must be told by the judge what their requirements are moving forward. Also, when they go to register, they are supposed to sign a form that means all of their needs are related to their registration responsibilities. When I defend clients during a preliminary hearing or trial, this element is usually at issue because the client messed some part of the registration up and indicated that they did not understand what they were supposed to do. It could be a good solid defense angle if the judge and the police did not clarify precisely what they were supposed to do.
Another issue relates to when the person moves or becomes homeless. If this occurs, they have five days to go to the last place they registered and tell them that they moved or became homeless and where they will be staying.
Once again, this is a big area that is prosecuted in these cases because the client often indicates that they live in one location but are staying at another. If the police can prove that you live at a place you did not register, this would violate Penal Code Section 290.
See Related: Chances of Having to Register as Sex Offender
Consult with an Experienced Sex Crime Lawyer
The bottom line is that if you are charged with this penal code section, you should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney right away because most sex crimes also strike in California.
Anyone arrested for not registering as a sex offender faces substantial prison time unless their attorney can show that they are innocent or made a mistake. Even though they may have technically violated their duty, they should not be punished like someone who did it intentionally so they could continue to commit sex crimes and the police would not be able to track them.
Are you being charged with a sex crime? Have you been convicted of a sex crime? Contact our Los Angeles Sex Crime Defense Attorneys so we can help you with your situation, whether you are facing charges of a sex crime or whether you are facing charges of failing to register after being convicted of a sex crime.
Under the California Penal Code Section 290, if you have been charged with a sex crime, you must register and re-register as a sex offender for the rest of your life so long as you are residing or working in California. Registration must be done within five business days of coming to a particular area to live.
Sex crimes include but are not limited to sex with a minor, statutory rape, child molestation, lewd conduct, oral copulation, and other similar offenses. We might be able to help you avoid sex registration.
Although there is a possibility of getting your sex crime charge dismissed after completing probation (expunged), unfortunately, sex offender registration is still required under California law. Our sex crime defense lawyers are here to break down all this information for you and discuss all your available options and how to avoid sex registration.
Our Los Angeles sex crime lawyers have the experience and knowledge to help you face sex crime charges. Contact us for a free face-to-face consultation.
See related: What Determines if You Have to Register as Sex Offender?
How And Where Do I Have To Register As A Sex Offender?
If you've been ordered by the court to register as a sex offender, you will have paperwork that explains exactly where and how to register. The process will require you to register at the local law enforcement agency, where you will sign paperwork that lists what you can and cannot do as a registered sex offender.
If you violate the terms and conditions of those requirements, then you could be arrested and charged with a crime. It will be your responsibility to register every year on your birthday, but there is usually a five-day grace period. You need to follow everything to the letter of the law because the police will be looking to find ticky-tack violations. If you've complied, your attorney will be in a solid position to argue on your behalf.
How Long Do I Have To Register?
Usually, after a sex crime conviction, you'll be put on probation, and then the court will order you to report to probation. The probation officer will give you instructions. If you've been ordered to register as a sex offender, you should do so soon.
The typical registration requirement is to register where you are every year within five days of your birthday. When you first go to register, you'll be given verbal instructions, written instructions, and some paperwork that you have to sign. If you violate your requirements to register as a sex offender, this is the paperwork they'll use.
They will then use that paper to show that you knew what you were supposed to do. Then, they can charge you with a Penal Code Section 290 violation, which is a felony. You're looking at a striking case and 32 months in prison, minimum. You must follow the court's instructions, the probation department, or the parole department regarding registering.
Typically, a sex offender will register every year within five days of their birthday. If you move or become homeless, you have to go in immediately and let the police department know that you've moved or become transient.
If you're moving to another state, you've got to let the authorities in California know. Otherwise, they will issue an arrest warrant for you. You'll be arrested and deported back to California when you get caught. You will face some pretty severe Penal Code Section 299 registration charges, and you'll potentially face time in prison.
What Would Be An Example Of A Violation?
A common violation is failing to notify the police that you have moved or changed your address. If the police discover that you have moved without alerting them, they will arrest them.
If you were to move out of the jurisdiction or state, the police would issue a warrant for your arrest, and you would eventually be picked up and deported to the original condition. If you become transient or otherwise without a home, you will need to fill out a form and notify the police of your situation.
The worst situations occur when the police or the prosecution can prove that you were doing something the sex crime registration format is designed to prevent, such as going to a school or being in the presence of underage children. These types of violations will result in jail or prison time.
What if I Have Been Convicted Of A Sex Crime Out Of State?
If you have been convicted of a sex crime out of state and move to California, you should let local law enforcement know that you have moved. You should be sure to bring all of your paperwork with you so the police can determine what type of crime you pled guilty to and ensure that it meets California requirements for registering as a sex offender.
If it does, they will make you register as a sex offender as long as you live in California; you will have to do this on or within five days of your birthday. California is stringent regarding sex registration, so you want to ensure that you remain compliant.
You don't want to be in a position where you get arrested, charged with a crime, and charged with failure to report for a violation. You should figure out ahead of time whether or not you need to register, and if you do, you need to ensure that you write correctly. The police will go out of their way to arrest someone who has a prior sex crime conviction; the stigma associated with these crimes is horrible, so you want to make sure that you are doing everything required of you.
Can I Ever Be Relieved Of The Lifetime Requirement To Register?
At the posting of this information, there is a three-tier system in California. One tier is comprised of a list of crimes that require lifetime registration. The other tiers of crimes do not require lifetime registration. It might be worth your money to hire a lawyer who can research for you, decide which tier you fall into, and confirm with law enforcement that you don't have to register after a certain period.
What Is A Certificate Of Rehabilitation In California?
A certificate of rehabilitation in California is issued by a criminal court and relates to several crimes, including sex offenses. There are several requirements that you have to meet to get a certificate of rehabilitation. This is probably something for which you should seek the help of an attorney, as doing so would increase your odds of obtaining the certificate. Once someone gets a certificate of rehabilitation, they can apply for a pardon from the Governor of California.
Can I Review My Profile on The Sex Offender Registration Website?
You can review your profile on the sex offender registration website or Megan's Law website. If you want information related to your case, you can obtain it from your attorney or go to the court and obtain the minute order of your case, which shows what happened in your case from the beginning to the end.
It won't include every detail, but it will list each court appearance, what the appearance was for, what happened, and who was present at the appearance. It will also list all charges and convictions, pleas, and when your plea was terminated. If you want to get more detailed information, you will need to pay for a transcription of the court appearance.
Proposed Changes To The Sex Offender Registry In California In 2021
The proposed changes to the sex offender registry in California are still up in the air. Still, I can say that in my 25 years of practicing criminal defense, I haven't seen many laws that have been beneficial to individuals who are charged and convicted of sex crimes.
The most recent law that passed was the three-tier system for registration purposes, and this is one of the few laws that benefit sex offenders because it allows some people not to register for life. Believe it or not, this law was championed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office primarily because registration was confusing and unfair.
If you have been convicted of a sex crime, you need to determine whether or not you need to register as a sex offender. You want to figure out precisely what crimes the prosecutor is trying to get you to plead to and do your research on that particular penal code section so that you are in a position to know all the ramifications related to that specific charge. If you end up pleading no contest to a particular sex offense, you will learn all the consequences of that charge, and you won't have any issues moving forward.
What Happens If A Convicted Sex Offender Does Not Register?
The police, prosecutors, and judges take sex offender registration very seriously. Failing to register is a violation of Penal Code Section 290. A person who could not write would be looking at being arrested and serving time in prison.
The police have an automatic trigger set up, so if you don't register when you're supposed to, they will find out about it. They will put you on a list and put a warrant out for your arrest. They'll start searching for you, starting at the address you were supposed to register.
They'll also look at your driver's license and see where you have lived before. They'll see where your family is. They've got ways to find you, and when they do, they're going to arrest you. Not registering is a severe violation and is typically filed as a felony.
If your original offense were a strike, you'd see your sentence being doubled. If you fail to register on time, you'll want to get in and write as soon as you can. You also want to have an attorney guide you through the process so that if you have failed to register, you can try to do some damage control. If you are arrested and sent to court, your attorney can represent that you just made a mistake, explaining to the prosecutor and getting some leniency for you.
Often, people don't pay attention when they go to the police station. They don't take a copy of the documents. They forget about what their responsibilities are, and they make a mistake. If you're on felony probation, you have registration requirements in California.
Know your requirements, know the terms of your probation, and see the contract you sign when you go into the police station and register. Stay in contact with your attorney and with your probation officer. Please don't put yourself in the wrong position related to failing to register.
July 2015 – Van Nuys Court – Successful Case Result
My client was charged with failure to register a sex offender under California Penal Code 290 Registration. He had a sexually related conviction and was written for many years. He decided to move to another state and did not notify the local police department, resulting in a warrant for his arrest. He was arrested in Idaho and extradited to Los Angeles, where he was facing a strike allegation for a prior sex crime. Prosecutor was seeking a minimum offer of 32 months in state prison. I negotiated a deal where the DA struck the strike with no jail time. My client was permitted to travel back to Idaho, where he was placed on non-reporting probation in Los Angeles.