If you were convicted of a sex-related offense, your punishment will likely not end with a sentence of jail or prison time. In California, along with your prison terms and fines, the Sex Offender Registration Act requires you to register yourself as a “sex offender” with the city or county you live in for the rest of your life.
Under PC 290, you must register as a sex offender every year for the rest of your life, but what happens if you fail to register? The California sex crimes attorneys at Wallin & Klarich want to make sure you know the details of sex offender registration, because failing to meet the requirement to register could lead to severe penalties.
Mandatory and Discretionary Registration as a Sex Offender
Sex offender registration can be either mandatory or discretionary. If you are convicted of a crime listed under Penal Code 290(c), it means you are required to register as a sex offender. Crimes listed under PC 290(c) include rape, sexual battery, and sex crimes involving minors.
Under Penal Code 290.006, discretionary registration is available if you committed any crime done for the purpose of sexual gratification. This means that the court has the discretion to require you to register as a sex offender if you committed a crime for the purposes of sexual gratification of yourself or the alleged victim.
If you are required or ordered to register, you have five business days to register with the city or county. If you move, you have to register with your new city or county within five business days. If you live on a college campus, you also have to register with the school.
Registration is not a one-time thing. Along with the burden of initial registration and the stigma of labeling yourself as a “sex offender,” Penal Code 290.012 requires you re-register every year within five days of your birthday. A conviction labeling you a “sexual predator” under Welfare & Institutions Code 6600 requires you to re-register every 90 days. Registration is also required every time you change your name, address or employment.
So, what happens if you fail to register under any of these circumstances?
Failing to Register as a Sex Offender
If you are required to register and you fail to register or re-register under any circumstances, you could face charges for a separate crime. The punishment for failing to register depends upon the circumstances of your case.
Under California Penal Code 290.018, if the sex offense conviction that required registration was a misdemeanor, then failing to register is also a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor failure to register is punishable by up to 364 days in county jail.
Under subsection (b) of 290.018, if the sex offense that required registration was a felony, then failing to register is a felony. Felony failure to register is punishable by a state prison sentence of 16 months, two or three years.
These are serious consequences, which is why you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately if you are accused of failing to register.
Megan’s Law Website
Under Penal Code 290.46, the Department of Justice publishes your information on a website if you are convicted of certain sex crimes. This website is known as “Megan’s Law.”
If you are listed on Megan’s Law, anyone with access to the internet will be able to find your name, photo, address and information about your sex crime conviction. This is separate from the sex offender registry. Our attorneys may be able to help you get your name and information removed the Megan’s Law site.
How Our Sex Crimes Attorneys Can Help You Now
The sex crimes attorneys at Wallin & Klarich understand what you are going through. For the rest of your life, you are open to extensive penalties and the negative stigma of being labeled a sex offender will follow you around forever. However, we can do many things to potentially lighten or eliminate this burden.
Removing your name from the Megan’s Law website
In some cases, we can apply to the Attorney General for exclusion to remove your name from the Megan’s Law website. To qualify for exclusion from Megan’s Law, your offense must be one of the following:
- Penal Code 243.4(a) for sexual battery by restraint;
- Penal Code 647.6 PC misdemeanor child molestation;
- Cases where you successfully complete the probation for an offense that did not involve penetration or oral copulation and the victim was your child (or stepchild, grandchild, sibling, or of similar relation); or
- Felony child pornography where the victim was 16 or older
Certificate of Rehabilitation (PC 4852)
We can also help you apply for a certificate of rehabilitation through the Superior Court so long as you successfully complete a “satisfactory period of rehabilitation”—that is you stayed out of trouble long enough.
The satisfactory period depends on the offense you were convicted of. Contact our law firm so we can help you determine if you are eligible to apply for a certificate of rehabilitation.
This certificate automatically launches a pardon request. A successful certificate, even without a pardon, may relieve you of the registration burdens, depending upon your conviction.
Governor’s Pardon (PC 4854)
We can also seek a governor’s pardon. A pardon from the governor is the ultimate relief from conviction. Think of a pardon as a statement from the head of California saying that you should not be punished further for a crime.
It does not seal records and it is not an expungement, but it will relieve you of your requirement to register as a sex offender.
Contact Our California Sex Crimes Attorneys Today
Being labeled a sex offender is a weight on anyone’s shoulders. The embarrassment and harassment that can come from being on the Megan’s Law website can weigh upon you and your family. The worry, the stress, and the shame can rip at the fabric of your life. That is why you should contact a skilled criminal defense attorney to find out if you are eligible to seek relief from sex offender registration.
Our skilled sex crimes attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have been helping clients obtain post-conviction relief for more than 35 years. Our experienced team can review your case and take the steps necessary to get your life back on track.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, our skilled lawyers are available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. You do not have to go through this alone. We will get through this together.