October 16, 2015 By Stephen Klarich

How Failing to Register As a Sex Offender Can Lead to Federal Charges

If you are convicted of any one of several sex offenses in California, you will likely be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life while residing in California. You probably also know that you have to do this each year, or any time you move to a new address. Failing to register is considered a crime under California law. However, if you fail to register, you might also face additional criminal charges under federal law.

The Long Arm of Federal Law (18 USC 2250)

Under Section 2250 of Title 18 of the United States Code, it is a federal crime if you knowingly fail to register or update a registration as required, and you do any of the following acts:

  • Travel to another state;
  • Travel to a foreign country; or
  • Enter, leave, or reside on an Indian reservation.
punishment - failing to register as a sex offender
If you are convicted of failing to register as a sex offender under federal law, you face up to 30 years in state prison.

Though it is the most common reason for a federal charge, interstate travel is not required to be convicted under this law. You can also be charged with a federal offense if you knowingly failed to register as required by the national Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), and have a prior conviction for a qualifying sex offense under:

  • Federal law or the law of the District of Columbia
  • The Code of Military Justice
  • Tribal law, or
  • The law of a United States territory or possession

So, for example, if you are a member of the armed forces stationed in California, and you have a prior conviction for a sex offense under military law, your failure to register as required would lead to a federal charge under 18 U.S.C. section 2250, regardless of whether you ever left California.

Severe Consequences for Failing to Register

In addition to the penalties under California Penal Code section 290, violating the federal registration law leaves you subject to fines of up to $250,000, and up to 10 years in federal prison.

If you knowingly fail to update your registration as required and then commit a violent federal crime, you may also face up to 30 years in federal prison, in addition to the time for the federal crime you committed.

Contact Wallin & Klarich If You Have Been Charged with Failing to Register

A charge of failing to register as a sex offender can have a serious impact on your life. That is why it is so critical to enlist the help of an aggressive and experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At Wallin & Klarich, we know that living with a sex offender registration requirement is not easy, and our attorneys have over 30 years of experience successfully defending people like you who have been charged with failing to register at both the state and federal levels. Let us help you, too. We are committed to providing you with the personal attention you deserve, and to helping you overcome this difficult situation.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available near 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. We will be there when you call.

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