Failure to Register as a Sex Offender – California Penal Code Section 290
What happens if I Fail to Register as a Sex Offender?
Failure to register as a sex offender is a crime in California. If the sex offense conviction that requires you to register was a misdemeanor or a juvenile adjudication, then failure to register is usually a misdemeanor for the first violation and a felony for every subsequent violation. If your sex offense was a felony, failure to register is usually a felony.
Failure to Register as a Sex Offender is a Continuing Offense
There is no statute of limitations on failure to register as a sex offender cases since courts consider it to be a continuing offense. You can be convicted of a separate offense for each requirement you violate. For example, you can be convicted of two crimes for failing to update your registration annually and failing to inform authorities of a change of address even if both offenses happened during the same time period.
However, there are rules that prohibit courts from imposing sentences for two failing to register offenses that arise from a single course of conduct. For example, if you move to a new county and do not notify the authorities in either the county you are leaving or the county you are entering, you can be convicted of two crimes but can be punished for only one. To convict you of failure to register, the prosecution must prove that you did so “willfully.”
Not knowing that you were required to register, or being precluded from registering by circumstances beyond your control are defenses to a charge of failure to register. If you were never notified that you were required to register in the first place, you may have a defense to this charge.
Punishment for failure to register as a sex offender
Punishment for failure to register can be severe. You could face up to one year in jail for a misdemeanor failure to register conviction. You could face up to 3 years in prison if your underlying sex offense was a felony. Additionally, if your underlying sex offense was either a serious or violent crime (a “strike”), you are subject to enhanced sentencing.
Please visit our section on Felony Sentencing for more information about how recent changes to the law under the Realignment Act may affect you if you have a prior strike on your criminal record.
Speak to Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or a loved one is facing a sex offense charge, it is critical that you speak with an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney right now. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience successfully defending sex crimes cases. With offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina, Victorville, Torrance, and Sherman Oaks, our attorneys have been able to help many of our clients avoid having to register as sex offenders. If you have already been convicted of a sex crime, we may be able to assist you in relieving you of your lifetime duty to register as a sex offender. We have the skill and knowledge to help you achieve the best possible result in your case.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL (1-877-466-5245) for a free telephone consultation.
We will get through this together.