The California sex offender registry will undergo drastic changes in 2021, but that isn’t stopping lawmakers from trying to improve sex offender registration laws. Democratic Senator Scott Wiener recently introduced Senate Bill 145, a proposed California law that would stop discrimination that he believes is built into sex offender registration laws.
What would Senate Bill 145 change about the sex offender registry?
If passed, SB 145 would terminate the requirement to register as a sex offender for some offenses where the victim is at least 14 years old and the age difference between the victim and the offender is less than 10 years. Instead, judges would have the discretion to decide whether the offender should have to register.
When will a judge require you to register as a sex offender?
Under the proposed law, if a judge believes the offender engaged in predatory behavior or similar behavior, they have the discretion to require him or her to register as a sex offender.
For example, let’s say you are 18 years old and you engage in what you believe to be a consensual sexual act with your significant other, who happens to be 17 years old. The judge may not find this to be predatory behavior, and thus, you may not be required to register as a sex offender.
What is the purpose of SB 145?
Wiener believes that sex offender registration laws discriminate against LGBT youth. Under current law, an 18-year-old male who engages in sex with a 17-year-old female can be accused of statutory rape. This crime does not require sex offender registration.
However, if an 18-year-old male engages in sexual acts with a 17-year-old male, the crime would be considered much more serious because the sex act involves penetration of the anus. In this case, the 18-year-old male could be charged with a crime like sodomy under PC 286 or forcible penetration with a foreign object under PC 289. These crimes typically require sex offender registration.
What issues could prevent SB 145 from passing into law?
Although Senator Wiener’s purpose is to protect the LGBT community, SB 145 does not include language that specifically excludes offenders who engaged in anal, oral, homosexual or other sex acts from being required to register. This means that a 21-year-old person who engages in sexual conduct with an 11-year-old could potentially be protected based on the language of SB 145.
SB 145 also brings into question California’s various definitions of sex crimes, which differentiate specific sexual acts. This proposed law may stipulate that a heterosexual act and a homosexual act are seen differently in the language of the law.
These unintended consequences could prevent the current form of SB 145 from being passed into law unless the language is changed.
Contact the Sex Crimes Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or a loved one has been accused of a serious sex crime, it is important to speak with an experienced sex crimes defense attorney immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled and knowledgeable attorneys have more than 35 years of experience successfully defending our clients against sex crime charges. Let us help you now.
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