In many cases involving criminal acts, a minor does not face the same harsh punishment that adults face for the same crime. This is mostly because the law is designed to give juveniles a chance to reform and ultimately not have to pay for their crime well into adulthood.
When it comes to sex crimes, adults often face a lifetime requirement to register as a sex offender if they are convicted. So, can a minor be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his or her life?
Minors and SORNA
The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which was enacted in 2006, details when minors must register as sex offenders. Under Title 1 of the Act, which is called the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), minors are subject to many of the same registration requirements as adult sex offenders.1
SORNA requires registration by a minor only if they were 14 years old or older at the time of the offense and convicted of doing one of the following acts to commit a sex crime:
- Used force
- Used the threat of serious violence, or
- Used drugs or another method to render the victim unconscious2
Despite these laws, many states create their own laws regarding sex offenses committed by minors.
Sex Offender Registration for Minors in California
In California, whether a minor will be required to register as a sex offender will depend upon the circumstances of his or her case. In some cases, especially when the minor is 14 years old or older, the court could decide to charge a minor as an adult in criminal court. If a minor is charged as an adult, he or she faces the same penalties that an adult would face for that crime, which includes lifetime sex offender registration.
However, not all minors accused of crimes face the criminal justice system. When minors are not charged as adults, the case is typically sent to the California Division of Juvenile Justice (formerly known as the California Youth Authority). If this happens, sex offender registration will not be required.
If a minor is subject to the juvenile law process, he or she will not have to face the lifetime requirement to register as a sex offender.
I’m a Sex Offender. What Can I Do Next?
If you were convicted of a crime and you were required to register as a sex offender, there may be some options for you to end this requirement. You may be eligible to apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation and/or Governor’s Pardon, which could end sex offender registration.
You should speak to an experienced sex crimes attorney about your options and eligibility.
Contact the Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich
If you or a loved one is facing sex crime charges, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Our skilled sex crime lawyers at Wallin & Klarich have been successfully defending minors accused of sex crimes in juvenile and criminal courts for over 35 years. We can help you today.
With offices in Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, San Diego, San Bernardino, Torrance, Ventura, Victorville and West Covina, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal attorney available near you no matter where you work or live.
Call us now at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.
1. http://www.jlc.org/current-initiatives/promoting-second-chances/juvenile-sex-offender-registration href=”#ref1″>↩
2. http://www.smart.gov/juvenile_offenders.htm href=”#ref2″>↩