In California, most individuals convicted of a sex crime must register as a sex offender for the rest of their lives.1Sex offender registration also involves those convicted of a registerable sex crime in another state who then moves to California, as well as those convicted in military courts.
This last category—those convicted in military courts—has recently begun to pose a problem. Normally, if you are tried and convicted in civilian courts, you are registered prior to your release from prison. But if you are convicted and served your time in a military prison, this is not the case.
The Military Sex Offender Loophole
The federal government does not maintain its own sex offender registry and instead requires each state to create one under the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act.2 So, rather than being able to register individuals before they are released from prison, the military relies on where the inmates tell them they are going to move. The military then sends that state a letter informing them of the inmate’s plans, but oversight and follow up doesn’t tend to occur.3
Because of this, some military members are simply moving to a different state than the one they tell the military they intend to live in, and end up staying under the radar without actually registering. This may seem like a smart way to avoid sex offender registration, but these sex offenders put themselves at risk of further criminal charges.
Punishment for Failing to Register as a Sex Offender
Once an individual who was convicted of a sex crime in a military court moves to California, they become subject to California Penal Code 290. This means that, even if the state is unaware that the individual needs to register, the individual is at risk of being charged with violating the California Sex Offender Registration Act if they fail to do so.
Under California Penal Code 290.018, any person who is required to register because of a misdemeanor sex crime conviction who willfully fails to do so is guilty of a misdemeanor. If convicted, you face a punishment of up to 364 days in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
If, however, you were previously convicted of a felony sex crime and fail to register, you could be charged with a felony. This carries a punishment of 16 months, two or three years in state prison and fine of up to $10,000.
It is important to keep in mind that California requires sex offenders living in the state to register every time they move and every year on their birthday. Failure to register any time it is required is a “continuing offense,” meaning each failure to register is a separate crime.
Is There a Legal Way to End Sex Offender Registration?
Rather than going through loopholes to illegally avoid sex offender registration, you need to speak to an attorney about ending your requirement to register as a sex offender. You may be eligible for:
- A Certificate of Rehabilitation
- A California Governor’s Pardon
- A Presidential Pardon if your conviction was federal or in the military
Speaking to a skilled post-conviction attorney is the first step to take toward ending your requirement to register as a sex offender.
Call the Sex Crimes Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
A sex crime conviction could follow you around for the rest of your life. That is why you need the help of a skilled sex crimes attorney at Wallin & Klarich. Our knowledgeable lawyers have been successfully helping our clients obtain relief from sex offender registration for over 30 years. Let us help you now.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, an experienced Wallin & Klarich attorney can help you no matter your location.
Call us at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation. We will be there when you call.