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Habitual Sex Offender

Penal Code 667.71 PC - Habitual Sex Offender Law 

California Penal Code 667.71 PC is the statute that imposes a state prison sentence of 25 years to life for habitual sex offenders, which is someone who was convicted of certain sex offenses and then convicted again later of the same crime or other qualifying sexual offense.

PC 667.71 applies to some common sex crimes like Penal Code 261 PC rape and Penal Code 288 PC lewd acts with a minor, and others. Sex offenders who have several felony sex crime convictions are typically deemed a threat to public safety. 

Penal Code 667.71 PC - Habitual Sex Offender Law 
Penal Code 667.71 PC imposes a sentence of 25 years to life in prison for habitual sex offenders.

Simply put, a “habitual sex offender” is a person who was convicted of a specific sex crime and was convicted again of the same crime or another sex offense on the list below. 

For example, you could be classified as a habitual sex offender if you were convicted of PC 261 rape, serve time in prison, and once again convicted of rape once you are released from prison. This same example would also apply to PC 286 sodomy or PC 287 oral copulation with a minor.

Most serious sexual-related charges and felonies can't be expunged in California. This means sex crime convictions typically remain on your criminal record permanently and are not removed after some time. The best way to avoid a lifetime criminal record that shows a sex crime conviction is to avoid getting the sentence in the first place with the best defense possible. 

A person can raise several legal defenses if accused of a crime under Penal Code 667.71, such as a false allegation or a lack of probable cause. If convicted of being a habitual sex offender, it's a felony that carries imprisonment in the California state prison for 25 years to life.

What is the Legal Definition of a California Habitual Sex Offender?

Penal Code 667.71 PC says, “(a) For the purpose of this section, a habitual sexual offender is a person who has been previously convicted of one or more of the offenses specified in subdivision (c) and who is convicted in the present proceeding of one of those offenses.

(b) A habitual sexual offender shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for 25 years to life.

(c) This section shall apply to any of the following offenses:

California Habitual Sex Offender

(1) Rape, in violation of paragraph (2) or (6) of subdivision (a) of Section 261.

(2) Rape, in violation of paragraph (1) or (4) of subdivision (a) of former Section 262.

(3) Rape or sexual penetration, in concert, in violation of Section 264.1.

(4) Lewd or lascivious act, in violation of subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 288.

(5) Sexual penetration in violation of subdivision (a) or (j) of Section 289.

(6) Continuous sexual abuse of a child, in violation of Section 288.5.

(7) Sodomy, in violation of subdivision (c) or (d) of Section 286.

(8) Oral copulation in violation of subdivision (c) or (d) of Section 287 or former Section 288a.

(9) Kidnapping violates subdivision (b) of Section 207.

(10) Kidnapping, in violation of former subdivision (d) of Section 208 (kidnapping to commit specified sex offenses).

(11) Kidnapping, in violation of subdivision (b) of Section 209 with the intent to commit a specified sexual offense.

(12) Aggravated sexual assault of a child, in violation of Section 269.

(13) An offense committed in another jurisdiction that includes all the elements of an offense specified in this subdivision.

(d) Notwithstanding Section 1385 or any other law, the court shall not strike any allegation, admission, or finding of any prior conviction specified in subdivision (c) for a person subject to punishment under this section.”

(e) Notwithstanding any other law, probation shall not be granted to, nor shall the execution or imposition of sentence be suspended for a person subject to punishment under this section.

(f) This section shall apply only if the defendant's status as a habitual sexual offender is alleged in the accusatory pleading and either admitted by the defendant in open court or found to be true by the trier of fact."

What Are the Qualifying Sex Crimes?

In California, the qualifying sex offenses for habitual sex offender designation are as follows: 

Notably, any combination of the offenses listed above can result in habitual sex offender status after the second conviction. 

What are the Penalties for a Habitual Sex Offender?

Suppose you are deemed a habitual sex offender by the court. In that case, there are substantial felony penalties as follows:

  • Up to 25 years to life in a California state prison.
  • Requirement to register as a sex offender for life (tier-three) defined under Penal Code 290 PC with a local law enforcement agency.
  • No possibility of probation for a habitual sex offender conviction.
  • Habitual sex offenders cannot be expunged under state law.

What are Related Crimes? 

Several California laws are commonly related to habitual sex offenders, as discussed below.  


Penal Code 261 PC – rape is forced non-consensual sexual intercourse by use of threats, force, fraud, or when a victim is not capable of consent because they are too intoxicated or unconscious.

Rape is typically a felony that carries three, six, or eight years in state prison unless the victim is a minor under the age of 18, which carries seven, nine, or eleven years in prison. If the rape victim is a minor under the age of 14, the penalties can be increased to nine, eleven, or thirteen years in prison.

Lewd acts with a minor

Penal Code 288 PC – lewd acts with a minor child law makes it a crime to touch a minor under the age of 14 for sexual purposes or cause the minor to touch themselves or another. The penalties for PC 288 lewd acts with a minor conviction are typically harsh but will depend on several factors, such as the following:

  • The minor's age,
  • The defendant's age,
  • Whether the sex act was by force, violence, duress, or threats,
  • Whether there was a pattern of recurring lewd acts.
  • Registration as a PC 290 California sex offender.


Penal Code 286 – sodomy law makes the act of any non-consensual contact between someone's penis and the anus of another person illegal.

The crime of sodomy can occur when the victim is a minor under the age of 18 (regardless of consent), when it is with an adult using force, violence, or fear, or when someone is not able to consent because of intoxication, a mental illness, physical disability, or unconsciousness, and with a fellow jail inmate.

Depending on case details, prosecutors can file PC 286 sodomy as a misdemeanor or a felony (wobbler). A misdemeanor sodomy conviction carries up to one year in the county jail, but a felony conviction carries up to ten years in state prison. 

What are the Best Defenses for PC 667.71?

If you have been accused under Penal Code 667.71, you might be able to challenge it. Perhaps we can persuade the prosecutor to reduce or dismiss a sex charge.
Perhaps we can avoid a second conviction. Some of the most common legal strategies our California sex crime attorneys can use include the following: 

  • False allegations, such as challenging the accuser's credibility and showing the accusation is untrue.
  • No physical evidence argument involves challenging the strength of the case by showing there Is a lack of physical evidence.
  • Police misconduct arguments involve Constitutional violations like illegal searches and coerced confessions.

Maybe we argue that the police lacked probable cause to arrest you, and evidence should be excluded. They must have a reasonable belief that you committed a crime.

If you were stopped or arrested without probable cause, evidence gathered after the improper stop might be excluded, resulting in a case dismissal or reduced charges. 
Perhaps we can argue the police coerced your confession. Under California law, law enforcement can't use overzealous techniques to coerce a confession.

If we can prove the police coerced you into a confession, then the judge might exclude the confession from evidence or dismiss the case if you were pressured to confess to a crime you did not commit.

Sometimes, we might be able to negotiate with the prosecutor for lesser charges or even get the case dropped. Through prefiling intervention with law enforcement detectives and the DA's Office, we might be able to persuade them not to file formal charges, known as a “DA reject.”

Suppose you or a family member was accused of violating California Penal Code 667.71 PC. In that case, you should contact our law firm to review the case details. The Hedding Law Firm is based in Los Angeles, CA.

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