Being convicted of a crime affects a person’s life forever. Having a criminal record affects a person’s employment opportunities, can influence child custody decisions, and may prohibit the exercise of certain rights, such as owning a gun. Hiring a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney at the outset of a criminal case is crucial to obtaining the best possible outcome. One type of offense that particularly impacts anyone convicted is sex crimes. These individuals are subject to punishment that persists long after the prison sentence is served that makes it nearly impossible to function in society. In fact, new research indicates that these policies actually increase the likelihood of repeat offenses because it is so difficult to find compliant housing and employment. In addition, the rate of recidivism for sex offenses (how often someone reoffends) is much lower than policymakers claim. California has some of the toughest sex offender registry laws in the country, so understanding the regulations that dictate how someone convicted of a sex-related crime must live is essential information to anyone facing charges of this kind.
Which Offenses Are Subject to the Registry?
One important aspect of the California sex offender registry laws that needs to be emphasized at the outset is that registration is for life, or as long as one lives, works or attends school in this state. While there is long list of crimes included under this umbrella, the most common types of offenses subject to registration include:
- rape/sexual battery;
- acts involving minors, such as lewd acts with a minor, pimping and sexual assault;
- sodomy; and
- indecent exposure.
However, note that a judge can order anyone convicted of a crime to register, not just those convicted of an offense listed in the law, as long as the judge believes the offense is related to sexual compulsion or gratification.
Information Listed on the Registry
The stated purpose of the sex offender registry is to notify members of a community if a sex offender is living in their area. Consequently, the law requires individuals required to register to do so in person within five business days of:
- sentencing if no incarceration was ordered;
- release from police custody; or
- discharge from a hospital or mental health facility.
The registry itself lists the person’s name, last known address, convicted offense, date of release, biographical/identifying information and unique markings, such as scars and tattoos. At a minimum, offenders must annually update their information within five days of their birthday. In addition, more frequent updates are necessary when someone moves, is a transient (has no permanent address), is considered a sexually violent predator, or is present on a California college campus.
While the State is no longer enforcing housing restrictions for most individuals required to register as a sex offender in response to a court decision, local law enforcement is still able to enforce the State statute or local ordinance. State law restricts registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park and from accessing schools or parks without permission. For example, Los Angeles County prohibits registered sex offenders from living together or within the same housing complex.
Relief from Registry
Once designated a registered sex offender, getting off the list is not easy, but is possible. For less serious offenses, an individual can apply for dismissal of his/her case, or expungement, once probation is completed, and then later for a certificate of rehabilitation as long as no other incarcerations or felony convictions have occurred. Expungement removes the charge and conviction from the person’s criminal record. However, the duty to register as a sex offender remains. A certificate of rehabilitation relieves the person of the duty to register. In addition, the governor can issue a pardon for type of sexual offense that would completely clear the offense, and connected obligations, from the person’s record.
Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney
All criminal cases require and deserve a strong defense to protect the defendant’s rights and to lessen the potential consequences. Manshoory Law Group, APC represents clients in criminal matters throughout Los Angeles and will be there to walk you through the confusing and intimidating criminal process. Attorneys are available 24/7. Contact us today for a free consultation.