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What is California’s Megan’s Law?

Megan's Law is named after Megan Kanka. When Megan was seven years old, she was brutally raped and murdered by a convicted child molester who lived across the street from her. Her parents never knew they had a sex offender for a neighbor until after Megan's death. Following the tragedy, Megan's parents fought to have a law passed that would keep other parents from suffering the same circumstances.

In California, sex offenders have to register within five days of being released from prison and then any time they change their address or name. They also have to update their registration information every year. Some sex offenders (e.g., sexually violent predators) have to update their registration more often. Deliberately failing to register is a felony. Most sex offenders must continue to register throughout their entire lives.

Every state has a Megan's Law, California's Megan's Law includes:

  • Requires convicted sex offenders to register with their local law enforcement agency, and
  • Makes it possible for people to get information about the identity and address of registered sex offenders.

People who have been convicted of certain sex offenses, including:

  • Sexual battery
  • Rape
  • Kidnapping or assaulting a person to commit rape, sodomy, lewd or lascivious acts, or oral copulation
  • Prostitution involving a minor
  • Sexual acts with a child under the age of 14
  • Incest
  • Sodomy with without consent or with a minor
  • Possessing child pornography
  • Indecent Exposure - California Penal Code section 290(a)(2)(A)-(E).

Juveniles also have to register as sex offenders if they commit similar crimes. However, if the crime was handled in juvenile court, the registration information cannot be disclosed to the public unless the juvenile is a threat to the community.

Megan’s Law California Map & Registry

The California Megan's Law Internet database currently contains information about more than 76,000 registered sex offenders. The location of sex offenders can be obtained by entering a name, address, city, county, zip code, school, or park location.

The sex offender information includes:

  • Name and aliases
  • Age, date of birth and gender
  • Physical description, including height, weight eye and hair color, scars, marks and tattoos
  • Photograph (when available)
  • The crimes resulting in registration
  • County of residence and zip code of residence
  • Address (available depending on the type of crime)

It is important to note that not ALL California sex offenders are in an internet database. Approximately twenty percent of registered sex offenders are not in the internet database. Offenders who have been convicted of certain crimes can request to be excluded. The databases available at local police stations contain information about the offenders who are not in the internet database.

For access to the California Megan's Law online registered sex offender database, click here.

Additional Registered Sex Offender Resources

  • To find a registered sex offender anywhere in the United States, visit www.nsopr.gov
  • To find a registered sex offender in a particular state, visit www.tbi.gov/hq/cid/cac/registry.htm
  • To find answers to frequently asked questions about California Megan's Law, visit www.meganslaw.ca.gov.faq.aspx

If you are charged with a sex crime, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles to learn what legal options are available to you.

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