Have you been ARRESTED or contacted by the Police, a Detective, FBI, or CPS?
Pursuant to this law, if you’ve been convicted of certain sex offenses, you’ll have to register with your local police chief, deputy, or campus police chief, depending on where you live in our state, for the duration of your mandatory registration period.
Specifically, every year, within five business days of your birthday, or within five business days of moving residences, you’ll have to provide your (new) residence address, place of employment, and other pertinent information. See Sex Offender Registration requirements at California Penal Code section 290.
If you fail to do so, you can be charged with a felony. See Sex Offender Registration Act: Penalties for Violation (California Penal Code section 290.018).
If you are required to register, then much if not most of the relevant information pertaining to your conviction will appear on the California Department of Justice’s “Megan’s Law” website (discussed below).
In addition, certain sex-crime convictions will restrict where you are allowed to live (e.g., nowhere near a school).
And again, whenever you change residences, you’ll have to register anew with the LAPD or Sheriff’s Department if you’re an Angeleno. See California Penal Code section 290.013.
If you’ve been convicted of a sex crime by using force or threats, and you suffer from what the court believes is a dangerous pathology, you’ll be considered a “sexually-violent predator”, as defined in California Penal Code section 290.012. This same classification is also defined at California Welfare and Institutions Code section 6600.
Sexually violent predators are required to register anew every three months. Id.
Prior to the enactment of SB-384 on Jan. 1, 2021, Californians convicted of most sex crimes were required to register for their entire lives. See: leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.
Now, however, most convicted sex offenders are classified under the following three separate tiers.
If you are considered a Tier One offender, you’ll have to register for a minimum of a decade. This tier is reserved for the second-lowest level of sex offenders (with the lowest not being required to register). These include the following convictions:
Tier Two offenders have to register for at least two decades. Such mid-level sex offenses include:
Tier Three requires lifetime registration and, of course, entails you being convicted of the most serious or violent sex crimes, such as:
In addition, you’ll be considered a Tier Three offender if the court finds that you are a “habitual sex offender” under California Penal Code section 667.71;
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the court has the discretion to require you to register for any sex crime, even if it’s only a misdemeanor, even if it’s not explicitly identified in the Sex Offender Registration Act.
So long as your sentencing judge finds that the crime you were convicted of resulted from sexual compulsion or gratification, he or she has the power to categorize you under one of the three tiers. See California Penal Code section 290.006.
More specifically, since the passage of California Senate Bill SB-145 in 2020, the court now has the discretion to waive sex registration if you were no more than a decade older than the victim, and he/she was at least fourteen when the following offenses occurred:
Unlike when you complete a probation period, if you are a Tier One or Tier Two registerable sex offender, you’ll have to petition the court to remove you from the state’s registry once your ten or twenty-year period is up. Further, the Deputy District Attorney who prosecuted you can oppose your petition.
Also keep in mind that if you’re convicted of any sex crime during your registration period, that initial period will be paused, meaning that it’ll start over from the date of the new conviction. And, of course, if the new conviction carries a longer registration period, then that will control how long you’re in the registry.
Certificate of Rehabilitation
You can also get removed from the Megan’s Law website by successfully petitioning the court for this certificate. See California Penal Code section 290.5. Unfortunately, however, you won’t be eligible for this certificate until at least 7 years after you complete your prison sentence (if any), your parole term (same), or probation term (same).
Alternatively, you can be eligible upon expungement of your criminal conviction. See California Penal Code section 1203.4.
To do so, you’ll also have to establish that you’ve lived in California for at least five years prior to your application. See California Penal Code section 4852.01.