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How California Sex Offender Registration Works

  • Published: January 7, 2020

Are All Convicted Sex Offenders Required To Register On The Sex Offender List?

The majority of people convicted as sex offenders are required to register on the sex offender list. There are lists of people who currently have to register as sex offenders, and there are lists of people who plead guilty to sex crimes that don’t have to register as sex offenders.

However, the list of people who don’t have to register as a sex offender under Penal Code 290 for sex-related offenses is a very short list. Almost all sex crimes call for a person to register as a sex offender for life and will be listed on the Megan’s Law website.How California Sex Offender Registration Works

However, as of 2019, the sex offender list is going through some changes. California has passed a new law that created a three-tiered system that designates how long a person is registered as a sex offender.

For instance, if a person commits a lesser sex offense, such as a sexual battery, they may only have to register for ten years. If the sexual offense is highly severe, a person may have to register for 20 years or life depending on the category of where the sex crime falls.

If an individual has to register as a sex offender, law enforcement will give them all the information in writing. It is important to seek the assistance of an attorney for any questions regarding a specific case. Your attorney can advise you on the best procedures regarding your particular case.

Is Ignorance Of the Law A Defense To A Failure To Register?

Ignorance of the law can be a defense to a failure to register charge. If someone doesn’t understand the procedure or what they’re supposed to do regarding the polices behind sex registration, they may be able to avoid a violation.

However, the prosecutors will seek intent and prosecute individuals who intentionally don’t register to further commit more crimes. A lot of people fall prey to being very sloppy about their sex registration. When someone is convicted of a sex-related offense, the judge is very specific at the time of sentencing when it comes to registering as a sex offender.

After sentencing, the convicted person is sent to the local law enforcement, and they relay the information of the rules regarding sex registration in writing. I always impress upon my clients to read all the documents, know it well, and ask any questions.

Is Failure To Register A State Level Offense Or Federal Offense?

Failure to register as a sex offender is usually a state-level offense. The majority of the penal code section 290 violations for someone failing to register is controlled by the state government.

When an individual gets out of jail on parole, they have to register as a sex offender, and when that person doesn’t do so, they’re arrested by local authorities at the state level and not the federal level. It’s the responsibility of the state to monitor that sort of activity.

Often, If a juvenile has a knowledgeable attorney, they can avoid registering as a sex offender. A juvenile will have to register as a sex offender if they plead guilty or admit a petition.

Juveniles will be given specific instructions on their responsibilities and whether they have to register as a sex offender at the time of their sentencing. Unlike adults, juveniles have the best chance of avoiding sex registration because of their age. Juveniles are also treated differently than adults when it relates to most sex-related offenses.

Will I Go To Jail If I Have Been Charged With A Failure to Register?

A person will most likely be arrested and have to post bail if they are charged with a failure to register. If the individual does not post bail, then they’ll stay in custody until the case is resolved.

However, one of the most significant factors that will determine whether or not someone goes to jail is the underlying offense. If the underlying offense is a strike that’s a new felony charge relating to not registering as a sex offender, the probability of going to prison is high.

If it’s a strike, a person will generally get double time, and the lowest offer on a strike would be 32 months in prison.

On the other hand, if the sex-related offense is a misdemeanor and a person fails to register, the possibility of staying out of jail or prison is high. The authorities will mostly try to zero in on why that person failed to register.

Depending on the intent, a person may not have to serve time. However, if they did not mean to register, then it’s an offense that can warrant prison time.

Ron Hedding

Named Top Los Angeles DUI Defence Attorney by LA Times and named one of the
Top 100 DUI Defence attorneys in California by the National Trial Lawyers
Association. I'm the attorney other lawyers hire to defend them.


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