New California Law Changes Sex Offender Requirements
Being required to register as a sex offender seems like a lifetime sentence that forever impacts your ability to seek work, find safe housing, and maintain your reputation. You may want to move past this dark time in your life and change neighborhoods, cities, or counties, but you will always have registry requirements to fulfill. However, new legislation in California may offer some light at the end of the tunnel.
Requirements for Sex Offenders
Upon being convicted of certain sex crimes in California, defendants are required to register with the state and national sex offender database, according to the Sex Offender Registration Act. Registration includes informing the local authorities, such as the San Diego Sheriff’s Office, of the defendant’s:
- Current and former legal names and aliases
- Social security number
- Phone numbers
- Physical description
- Physical address
- Email addresses
- Social media accounts
- Online names or personas
- Employer name and address
- Professional licenses
- Driver’s license
- Vehicle information
- School details
- Criminal record
- Recent photo
- DNA, fingerprints, and palm prints
Failure to register as a sex offender and provide this information to local police can result in additional prison sentences, and offenders may also have to submit information to their employer or school. Prior to 2021, offenders had to submit this information at regular intervals, sometimes as short as every 30 days, for the rest of their lives.
How Senate Bill 384 Changes Requirements
Senate Bill 384 became law in January, but those on the sex offender registry cannot file a petition until after July 1, 2021, and after fulfilling certain requirements.
Under this new system, offenders are placed into three tiers based on the crime they were convicted of and their likelihood to re-offend. Each tier has a minimum registration period, and, after that period, an offender can petition to be removed from the registry. These three tiers are:
- Tier 1: All offenders must register for at least 10 years for low-level sex crimes. These crimes include certain misdemeanor offenses such as sexual battery, procuring sex by fraud, indecent exposure, and child pornography.
- Tier 2: All offenders must register for at least 20 years for mid-level sex crimes. These crimes include lewd acts with a child under 14 years old.
- Tier 3: All offenders must register for life for high-level sex crimes and are not allowed to petition for removal. These crimes include rape, sex trafficking, felony sexual battery, pimping and pandering of a minor, and aggravated sexual assault of a minor.
After July 1, 2021, any tier-one or -two offender who has fulfilled their minimum registration requirements can petition a California court to be removed from the registry on or after their next birthday. For example, if a tier-one offender has been on the registry for at least 10 years and his birthday is August 14, then he can petition the court on or after August 14, 2021.
Even after you have submitted a petition, you must continue to register until the court makes a decision. The court has 60 days to respond to your petition and may request reports from local law enforcement regarding your case. If you have not been convicted of a new crime since your initial conviction and have fulfilled all requirements with the sex offender registry, then the court may approve your petition and remove you from the registry.
Speak to a Skilled Lawyer Today
California has strict requirements for sex offenders and even with the new changes to our laws, offenders can still have their petitions denied for minor errors. But the law is clear: if you fulfill your legal requirements and have a clean record, then you may be removed from the sex offender registry. Given how complex this process is, you should contact a San Diego criminal defense lawyer to discuss your options, especially if you have failed to register in the past or are currently facing charges. Our legal team at jD LAW can review your charges in a free case evaluation and build a strong defense on your behalf. To get started, call our office at (760) 630-2000.
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