How to Petition for Your Removal on California’s Sex Offender Registry

California has one of the strictest sex offender laws in the U.S. The state also maintains a massive public sex offender database called Megan’s Law, where anyone may look up offenders. While you may want to remove yourself from the database, you may be worried that doing so will mean forfeiting other legal rights.

You may face lifelong restrictions because of your criminal record if the law convicts you of certain crimes, such as child molestation or rape. For example, employers might refuse to hire you, landlords might evict you, and government institutions might restrict access to benefits and services. In addition to these restrictions, law enforcement may require you to report your address every time you move. This requirement means that even if you never commit another crime, you may be unable to live freely without fear that someone will discover your history. You may wonder whether or not you should file a petition to remove your name from California’s public sex offender database. If so, then read on to find out how to get started.

What is California’s Sex Offender Registry?

Sex crimes are illegal in many states. In California, these crimes include rape, forcible sodomy, child molestation, lewd acts with children, and sexual offenses against minors or adults. You may face severe punishments such as lengthy prison sentences, lifetime registration as a sex offender, and hefty fines if convicted.

The Department of Justice established California’s Sex Offender Registry System (SORS) in 1947. It allows local law enforcement agencies to access information regarding individuals who have committed certain sex crimes statewide. The registry contains public and non-public details, such as contact information and aliases.

California’s sex offender registries prevent sex offenders from reoffending. The state maintains two databases, one for local jurisdictions and another for the State Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). The CDCR’s database contains information about those who have served their terms.

Removal from the Sex Offenders’ Registry in California

Laws regarding sex offender registries vary widely from state to state. Some states require lifetime registration, while others only require a minimum amount of time. Most states also give judges wide latitude in deciding whether someone should remain registered after their sentence has ended.

You Must Prove That You do Not Pose a Threat to Public Safety

If the law convicts you of certain sex offenses, the state may require you to register as a sex offender. To avoid being placed on the sex-offender registry, you must prove to the court that you do not threaten the community.

Your Conviction Must be Final

In some cases, some convictions are still pending, while others are not yet in the final stage. If your case is still pending, you should contact your attorney to find out how to remove your name from the registry.

You Must Prove That Your Offense Was Nonviolent

To qualify for getting off of the sex-offender list, you need to prove that the crime was not violent. A violent act includes rape, murder, arson, kidnapping, or sexual abuse.

Convictions Must Not be Related To a Sex Crime Involving Children

For example, if you have a conviction of child molestation, you should not try to get your name removed because you are a tier 3 offender. That would mean you would be violating the law again and putting yourself in danger of returning to prison.

The Mandatory Three Tier Sex Offenders Registry

Senate Bill SB 384 came up with three tiers to replace the sole lifelong registration of sexual offenders on California’s Sex Offenders Registry. Here is an expliation of each tier:

  • Tier I: Requires a person convicted of a qualifying offense to register at the time of conviction and for ten years after that. When they move out of their restricted zones, they have to reregister.
  • Tier II:  Requires registrants to maintain their registration for twenty years after release from prison.
  • Tier III: Is lifetime registration for serious sex offenses like rape, sexual acts with children younger than ten years, felony incest, and forcible sodomy.

Individuals may choose not to report their residence or employment. However, they face additional criminal penalties if they do not comply with Sexual Offenders Registration Act’s requirements. In addition, they could lose some civil liberties if they fail to comply with their registration requirements.

Petitioning for Removal from California’s Sex Offender Registry

Once you become aware of the potential repercussions of your conviction, you will most likely want to take steps to remove your name from the list. One obvious option would be to seek legal counsel.

Seek Legal Counsel

Depending on the details of the offense, it might be possible to convince a judge or jury that you do not belong on the list anymore. However, focusing on changing how you live your life is also essential. It’s also possible to use an attorney to help you petition the state to remove your name from their database.

Get a Certificate of Relief from Sexual Offender Registration

For some types of sex offenses, it is possible to apply for a Certificate of Relief from Sexual Offender Registration. A court order is required to prove that you do not risk reoffending. The court order should include the following:

  • Evidence of good conduct since your release
  • A description of the conditions that led to your conviction
  • Evidence that you have completed a rehabilitation program for the specific crime
  • A finding that you pose no risk of re-offense

To qualify for relief, you must show that you have demonstrated no likelihood of reoffending and that registering as a sex offender would constitute an unreasonable burden.

Contact an Experienced Lawyer Before You Petition

If you think you’re eligible for removal from California’s sex offender database, speak to an experienced lawyer before making any decisions. They will help you determine whether or not you should petition for removal from the sex-offender database. If your case is under appeal, you could try contacting your attorney to see the available options.

The law isn’t something you have to know inside out. However, it exists to protect us all. You do more harm than good if you don’t hire an attorney. At Aron law firm, Our mission is to provide trusted legal advice, information, and advocacy for our clients. Contact us at (805) 618-1768 if you or your loved ones are on California’s Sex Offenders Registry.

William M. Aron


William M. Aron

August 25, 2022

Former Deputy District Attorney William Aron received his Juris Doctorate from the Duke School of Law and has amassed 20 years of experience practicing law. Attorney Aron dedicates his practice to defending the accused, and is devoted to keeping his clients out of prison.