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Failure to Register as a Sex Offender in California

Under California Penal Code Section 290 PC, people convicted of sex crimes and certain other offenses must register as sex offenders. Registration must be renewed every five years or any time an offender moves to a new address. A failure to do so is a criminal offense under California State Law.

If you have been accused of failing to register as a sex offender or failing to keep your sex offender registration up to date, you could have another criminal conviction at your hands. Do not risk spending time behind bars for a failure to register as a sex offender in California without first enlisting the assistance of an Aron Law Firm sex crimes defense attorney to help fight your case.

Sex Offender Registration Requirements in California

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have their own sex offender registries. Still, the federal government has limited say in how these registries are maintained and who must register and for how long. The California State Legislature has decided to track individuals convicted of sex crimes, sometimes long after their sentence has been completed.

According to California Senate Bill (SB) 384:

  • Tier 1 sex offenders must keep their registration up to date for at least 10 years
  • Tier 2 sex offenders must keep their registration up to date for at least 20 years
  • Tier 3 sex offenders must keep their registration up to date for life

Registration must be renewed with the local authorities annually, within five working days of the offender's birthday, and every time they move to a new address. Although sex offenders without permanent residences are unable to provide local authorities with a home address, they must inform police of their general location once every 30 days.

Possible Defenses for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender in California

An experienced sex crimes defense attorney may be able to provide evidence that a defendant failed to register as a sex offender because they:

  • Were not convicted of an offense involving lewd or lascivious conduct, as listed in California Penal Code Section 290 PC, including:
    • Rape
    • Sexual assault or battery
    • Indecent exposure
    • Child molestation
    • Child pornography
  • Did not reside in California
  • Were unaware that they had a duty to register as a sex offender
  • Did not willfully fail to register or update their registration

The courts are typically clear when notifying defendants of their registration requirements. Still, language barriers and other factors could prevent a person from being appropriately informed of their obligation to register as a sex offender. If an attorney can successfully prove that their client was unaware of their sex offender registration requirement, they cannot be convicted for a failure to register.

Possible Penalties for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender in California

Depending on the underlying sex crime and whether there were any previous felony convictions, failure to register as a sex offender can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony offense.

If convicted of a misdemeanor, the defendant could be sentenced to:

  • One year in jail
  • A fine of $1,000
  • Probation

If convicted of a felony, the defendant could be sentenced to:

  • Three years in prison
  • A fine of $10,000
  • Probation

Since California courts consider sex crimes to be continuing offenses, there is no statute of limitations on cases for failing to register as a sex offender.

Defend a Failure to Register as a Sex Offender Case with a Trusted California Attorney

Failure to register as a sex offender in California is a violation that is not taken lightly. Classified as a “continuing offense,” you commit a new criminal offense every time you fail to register as a sex offender or keep your registration updated with the local authorities.

An Aron Law Firm sex crimes attorney can conduct an in-depth investigation into your unique situation and create an intelligent strategy to defend your criminal case. Call (805) 618-1768 or submit a completed contact form to schedule a consultation to discuss your legal options today.

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