Los Angeles Failure to Register as a Sex Offender Attorney
Have you been convicted of a sex crime in California? Do you plan on living in the state after you complete your criminal sentence? If so, you’ll probably have to register with the California Sex Offender Registry. This registration must be renewed every five years or whenever you move. How long you’ll be a registered sex offender will depend on your crime. You can face serious criminal charges if you don’t comply with state sex offender registration laws.
It’s important to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer if you are facing criminal charges for failure to register as a sex offender. At The Rodriguez Law Group, our attorneys have more than two decades of experience handling complex criminal matters. Your future is at stake. Our criminal defense lawyers can help. Call today to schedule a free case assessment and learn more.
Penal Code 290 PC
If you’ve been convicted of a sex crime in Californa, you’ll probably have to register as a sex offender. This requirement is imposed by Megan’s Law and California Penal Code 290 PC. It’s a crime to fail to register as a sex offender when you have a legal obligation to do so.
You can be charged with failure to register as a sex offender if you:
- Have been convicted of a sex crime listed in 290 PC
- Live in California
- Knew you had a duty to register as a sex offender, and
- Willfully failed to comply with the law.
In other words, it’s a crime to not register as a sex offender if you know that you have a legal obligation to do so. This includes failing to update your registration every five years or whenever you move to a new address.
Crimes Requiring Sex Offender Registration
Many sex crimes require registration as a sex offender. Beginning in 2021, these sex crimes will be classified into one of three different tiers. The tiers will correspond to (a) the severity of the crime and (b) the length of time an offender must register with the state.
If you’re convicted of a Tier One sex offense you will be required to register as a sex offender for a minimum of 10 years. Tier One sex offenses include:
- Indecent exposure
- Misdemeanor child pornography
- Misdemeanor oral copulation
- Misdemeanor sexual battery
- Annoying a child, and
- Misdemeanor arranging to meet with a minor for lewd purposes.
If you’re convicted of a Tier Two sex offense you will be required to register as a sex offender for a minimum of 20 years. Tier Two sex offenses include:
- Oral copulation
- Rape, when the victim is an adult but unable to provide consent because of a disability
- Lewd acts with a child under 14
- Acts of penetration with a foreign object, and
- Sex acts with someone unable to provide consent.
If you’re convicted of a Tier Three sex offense you will be required to register as a sex offender for life. Tier Three sex offenses include:
- Murder committed during a forced sex act
- Kidnapping committed during a forced sex act
- Felony sexual battery
- Pimping and pandering of a minor
- Child pornography
- Spousal rape by force
- Aggravated sexual assault of a child
- Sodomy by force, and
- Lewd acts with a child by force.
Your duty to register as a sex offender does not expire just because you have maintained your status on the registry for the minimum amount of time required by law. Once you’ve satisfied the minimum registration period you can file a petition to have your name removed from the registry.
Knowledge and Willful Failure
It’s only a crime to fail to register as sex offender if:
- You knew that you had a legal obligation to register with local or county police; AND
- You willfully failed to carry out that responsibility.
How do you know that you have a duty to register as a sex offender? There are many ways that you can be informed that you have a duty to register as a sex offender. You will be considered to have knowledge of this duty if:
- A prosecutor verbally informs you of the obligation before you plead guilty or no contest;
- A judge verbally informs you of the obligation during sentencing;
- You receive written notice from the Department of Corrections after release from a state detention facility.
What is considered willful failure to register as a sex offender? You act willfully when you do something on purpose.
What if I forget to register or renew my registration? There is an exception to the requirement that you willfully fail to register as a sex offender. Courts have held that it is still a violation of Penal Code 290 PC if you forget to register.
What are the Penalties for Failing to Register as a Sex Offender?
Failing to register as a sex offender can be a misdemeanor or a felony. The charge you’ll face will depend on the crime that triggered the duty to register in the first place.
Misdemeanor Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
If you were convicted of a misdemeanor sex crime, you’ll be charged with a misdemeanor for failing to register with the state.
As a misdemeanor, the penalties for failure to register as a sex offender can include:
- 12 months in a Los Angeles County jail
- $1,000 in fines, and/or
- Summary probation.
You must have no prior convictions for failure to register.
Felony Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
You can be charged with a felony if:
- You were convicted of a felony sex crime, or
- You have a prior conviction for failure to register as a sex offender.
As a felony, the penalties for failure to register as a sex offender can include:
- 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in a California state prison
- $10,000 in fines, and/or
- Formal probation.
Felony failure to register as a sex offender can count as a strike for the purposes of the Three Strikes Law.
Defending Yourself If You’ve Been Arrested for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
The state has the burden of proving that you are guilty of failure to register as a sex offender. Any defense you present will make the prosecution’s job much more difficult.
Defenses that may help when you are accused of failure to register include:
- You didn’t know that you had a duty to register
- You have a disability that prevents you from understanding your obligation
- Your actions were not willful
- A clerical error prevented your registration from going through
- The state has made a mistake, or
- You’ve been falsely accused.
Hiring an attorney will help to ensure that your defense is as strong as possible. Contact the Rodriguez Law Group to find out how our legal team can help with your defense.
Are you facing criminal charges for failure to register as a sex offender? Do not hesitate to contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys for help. We understand that your future is at stake and will do everything we can to protect it. Call our law firm to schedule a free consultation today and learn more.