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How California's New Sex Offender Registry Laws May Affect You

As of January 1, 2021, Senate Bill 384 went into effect in California. This bill, which was passed in 2017, prompted several key changes to the state’s Sex Offender Registry. Essentially, it removed the mandatory lifetime registration rule for certain convicted sex offenders and replaced it with a three-tiered system. Beginning in 2021, those convicted of certain sex crimes will still have to register as sex offenders for 10 or 20 rather than life. Those required to register for 10 or 20 years can be removed from the sex offender registry after the respective time has passed. The more serious sex offenders will still be subject to lifetime sex registration.

Continue reading to learn more about SB 384 and how it may affect you, or contact Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners today to discuss the specifics of your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles. We are here to answer your questions and help you navigate the complicated Sex Registry system.

How SB 384 Changed California’s Sex Offender Registry System

Under California’s previous sex offender registry system, anyone who was convicted of any sex crime was subject to mandatory lifetime sex offender registration. Every year, convicted offenders were required to register with local law enforcement, and provide certain information regarding their physical description, place of residence, employment, and more. They also had to provide updated information if/when they moved.

SB 384 replaced the universal lifetime registration requirement with a three-tiered system. Although all convicted sex offenders will still be required to register with local law enforcement, not all will have to register for life. Those convicted of lower-level sex crimes can be removed from the database after a certain amount of time.

What Are the Three Tiers Under the New Sex Offender Registry?

SB 384 enacted a three-tier system of sex offender registration. Generally, the more severe the offense, the higher the tier—and the greater the time for mandatory sex offender registration.

The Three Tiers under California’s SB 384 are:

  • Tier One: Tier One involves the lowest-level sex crimes and requires sex offender registration for at least 10 years. Tier One crimes include sexual battery, indecent exposure, meeting a minor for lewd purposes, child pornography, and misdemeanor annoying or molesting a child (Penal Code 647.6). Those convicted of Tier One offenses can petition to be removed from the sex offender registry after 10 years.
  • Tier Two: Tier Two sex offenses are considered mid-level offenses and require mandatory sex registration for 20 years. Tier Two crimes include crimes like incest, lewd acts with a minor under 14 years old, sodomy, sex penetration by object, annoying and molesting a child (Penal Code 647.6) as a second or subsequent offense. Those convicted of Tier Two sexual offenses can petition to be removed from the registry after 20 years.
  • Tier Three: Tier Three is the highest level, involving the most serious sex crimes, which still require lifetime registration. These crimes include murder committed during a rape, felony sexual battery, sex trafficking of children, rape, pimping & pandering, lewd acts with a minor, sex acts with a child under 10, meeting with a minor for lewd purposes as a felony, and continuous sexual assault of a child. Those convicted of Tier Three offenses cannot petition to be removed.

Note that the tiered system outlined above applies to adults; minors who are convicted of sexual offenses may have to register for 5 to 10 years before being allowed to petition to be removed from the registry.

Are People Automatically Removed from the Sex Offender Registry?

No; removal from the Sex Offender Registry under SB 384 is not automatic. Rather, those who wish to be removed and are eligible must petition the court to have their names taken out of the sex offender database.

To be eligible to petition the court for removal from the sex offender registry and termination of the registration requirement, one must meet these requirements:

  • You have been convicted of a Tier One or Tier two offense, not a Tier Three offense;
  • The mandatorily required registration timeframe (5, 10, or 20 years) has passed;
  • You have complied with all sex offender registration requirements;
  • You have not been convicted of another criminal offense.

After completing the mandatory registration period, the convicted offender must file a petition with either the superior court or the juvenile court, requesting termination of the registration requirement. The court has 60 days to review the petition and can either grant or deny the request. An experienced criminal defense attorney can assist your request to be removed from the California Sex Offender Registry & Megan’s Law website.

Rely On Experienced Attorneys

Having a sex conviction and sex registration is serious business and can be devastating to your reputation and career. We have decades of experience and can help you navigate California’s Sex Offender Registry laws and determine if you qualify for removal from the Sex Offender Registry. Contact us and learn how we can assist you.

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