If you were convicted of a sex crime or any sex-related offenses, your punishment does not end with the sentence—it lasts a lifetime. 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. The Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich want to make sure you know the deadlines, because missing them can mean severe penalties.
I heard there are two types of registration, mandatory and discretionary?
You are right; registration can be either mandatory or discretionary. Conviction of a crime listed in Penal Code 290(c) means you must register. These crimes include rape, sexual battery, and sex crimes involving minors. Under Penal Code 290.006, the court can order discretionary registration for any crime done for the purpose of sexual gratification.
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 section 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 section 6600 means you have to re-register every 90 days. Registration is required every time you change your name, address, or your employment.
What happens if I don’t register? Penal Code section 290.018
To make matters worse, failing to register is also a crime. Under California Penal Code section 290.018, if the sex offense conviction that required registration was a misdemeanor, then failing to register is also a misdemeanor—punishable by up to one year in county jail.
Under subsection (b) of 290.018, if the sex offense was a felony, then failing to register is a felony—punishable by a state prison sentence for 16 months, or two or three years.
I heard I go up on a website?
Along with the penalties and the requirements, under Penal Code section 290.46 the Department of Justice publishes your information on a website. This is known as “Megan’s Law,” and because of it, anyone with an internet connection can see your name, photo, home address, and your conviction.
I was convicted; can you do anything to help me?
The Sex Offender Registration Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich understand what you are going through. For the rest of your life, you are open to extensive penalties. 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. Your offense must be one of the following types of sex crimes:
1. Penal Code 243.4(a) for sexual battery by restraint;
2. Penal Code 647.6 PC misdemeanor child molestation;
3. 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
4. Felony child pornography where the victim was 16 or older
Certificate of Rehabilitation (PC 4852)
We can also 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 period depends on the offense. 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 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 the registration burdens.
Being labeled a “sex offender” is a heavy 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. With over 30 years of experience, the Sex Offender Registration Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich understands. Our experienced team will review your case and take the steps necessary to get your life back on track.
We have offices in San Bernardino, Ventura, Riverside, San Diego, Los Angeles and Orange County. Call us today at 877-230-1528, you do not have to deal with this alone. We will get through this together.