When required by the state of California to register as a sex offender under Penal Code Section 290, you must comply. State law enforcement does not want anyone with a sex crime conviction to fall through the cracks and go unmonitored. As a result, if you are convicted of a qualifying sex crime under PC 290, you must obey the tracking requirements of the state and be easy to locate at all times. This tracking continues after the sentencing for the offense has ended, and there are quite a few offenses in Santa Barbara that fall under PC 290 and require sex offender registration.
California Law Regarding Sex Offender Registration
If you’ve been ordered to register as a sex offender, California law requires you to update your registration every five years. Should you move, you must provide your new address right away. There are repercussions for not registering or not keeping your registration current; failing to do so is illegal and may result in new charges being brought against you. You may also face prison time for failure to comply with this registration requirement.
Santa Barbara prosecutors will go to great lengths to prosecute PC 290 sex offenders who do not register or maintain their status as required by law. To successfully prosecute you for non-compliance, they must prove the following:
You have a sex crime conviction in California (any listed under Penal Code Section 290).
You must reside in the state.
You are aware of your obligation to register as a sex offender and how to do so.
You failed to register or to update when you moved or when the five year period ended.
The local sheriff’s office conducts regular sweeps of known sex offenders in the city to ensure they are in compliance with the law. This practice often involves police in plain clothes conducting surveillance unbeknownst to registered individuals.
The specific charges you are guilty of in Santa Barbara will determine if you must register as a sex offender. Under California Penal Code 290, such crimes may include the following:
Contributing to the delinquency of a minor
Indecent exposure (if the judge mandates it for a specific case)
Sexual assault or battery
Oral sex or anal sex with a minor (with judicial discretion)
Any allegations of failure to register as a sex offender must be resolved as soon as possible. Many times, there is a legal defense that may help you avoid additional consequences and penalties. It is best to consult with a sex offender defense attorney specializing in cases involving failure to register and related offenses. They can go over the details of your situation and may help you determine the best possible defense to work in your favor.
One defense is not knowing you had to register or how to go about registering your sex offender status. When convicted of a qualifying crime, you should be fully informed about this requirement. Court documents should go over this in great detail with offenders so that ample guidance is available to avoid this issue.
However, breakdowns in communication do happen, especially in situations where a defendant has difficulty understanding the process. This issue could be due to a learning disability or not having fluency in English. The courts may offer some leniency in such scenarios, but there is no leeway if you choose not to register or claim you simply forgot.
The prosecution may either charge your failure to register as a misdemeanor or a felony, but this will depend on the circumstances and type of sex crime. Also, if you have already previously violated this requirement and faced misdemeanor charges, you may face a felony charge the next time you fail to register. Should the prosecutor charge you with a felony, you may receive a prison sentence of up to three years.
Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney About Failure to Register as a Sex Offender in Santa Barbara
Failing to register as a sex offender is not a legal situation you want to tackle on your own. You may have a better chance of a successful outcome if you hire a knowledgeable sex offender defense attorney to represent you.
The Aron Law Firm is led by Attorney William M. Aron, who previously served as a Deputy District Attorney and has substantial experience with a broad variety of criminal cases. Contact our office today at (805) 500-7536 or online to schedule a confidential case evaluation.