Under California law, people convicted of serious sexual offenses are required to register as sex offenders. This can be devastating, as this information is public and must be disclosed while applying for housing or employment. However, there is a difference between discretionary and mandatory sex offender registration. If you've been convicted of a serious sexual offense, knowing the rules and regulations you need to follow as a registered sex offender is crucial in not adding charges to your case.
Discretionary and Mandatory Sex Offender Registration
Registration and reporting requirements for sex offenders can be mandatory or discretionary. However, if you're convicted of offenses like sexual battery, sex crimes involving minors, rape, or other sexual offenses listed in Penal Code 290 ©, you must register as a sex offender.
Discretionary sex offender registration is only available for individuals convicted of crimes done for sexual gratification. For example, stealing women's undergarments might land you a sexual offense charge, but it's up to the court's discretion. This means that the judge is at will to choose whether you must register as a sex offender or not.
Mandatory sex offender registration should be done within the county or city where the offense occurred within five business days of conviction. Offenders in a college or educational facility must also register with their schools. If you decide to relocate, you'll need to register with your new county or city.
As a convicted sex offender, you must re-register every year, and if you're labeled a sex predator, you must re-register once every 90 days. Re-registering whenever you change your name or employment status is also mandatory.
What Happens if You Fail to Register As a Sex Offender
Sex offender registration in California is a recurring task. If you fail to keep up with this obligation, you may be punished under Penal Code 290. The fine or jail time may vary depending on the severity of the offense, the number of times you failed to register, and a crime that occurred while you were supposed to be registered. Failing to register as a sex offender can result in prison for up to three years.
If you're charged with the failure to keep up with your sex offender registration, it's advisable to consult a San Diego sex crimes attorney to discover your legal options. An attorney can help drop or reduce the charges depending on why you failed to register.
The Meghan's Law Website
The Department of Justice publishes information about sex offenders on the Meghan's Law website. Anyone with an internet connection can access your details and information about your sex crime conviction if you are listed on the platform. It's essential to note that the Meghan's Law Website is different from the sex offender registry.