Three-Tier Sex Offender System
On January 1, 2021, the laws regarding sex offenders in California changed. Many other states have passed laws that allow for registered sex offenders to remain on the registry for life. The goal of the new three-tier system is to reduce the number of offenders who are registered for life under less serious charges while also ensuring that those who commit more serious offenses are properly monitored and tracked. Learn more about the three-tier sex offender system.
At Dod Law, APC, we understand how important it is to stay up to date on the changing laws, especially in regard to criminal justice. We are committed to representing clients who are facing any type of criminal charge, including sex offenses. In this article, we provide a brief overview of California’s new three-tiered sex offender registration laws so that you have a better understanding of the changes and what to expect as a registered sex offender in this state.
Three-Tier Sex Offender System Explained
Under California Penal Code 290, registered sex offenders are now divided into three tiers. Each tier has its own registration requirements and length of time offenders must remain on the registry. There are many factors that go into how the California Department of Justice determines which tier an offender is placed in. These include, but are not limited to, the severity of the crime, the age of the victim, and whether or not the offender was a repeat offender.
Tier 1: Low Risk
Under Tier 1, sex offenders are considered “low risk” for committing another offense. Those who fall into this tier must register for 10 years, or five years if the defendant is a minor. This tier is typically used for all misdemeanor convictions, as well as some non-violent felony convictions of sex crimes. Examples of crimes that fit into Tier 1 include misdemeanor child pornography, indecent exposure, and unlawful sexual intercourse.
Tier 2: Moderate Risk
Under Tier 2, sex offenders are considered “moderate risk” for committing another offense. Those who fall into this tier must register for 20 years or 10 years if the defendant is a minor. This tier is typically used for low- and mid-level felony convictions of sex crimes. Examples of crimes that fit into Tier 2 include rape, incest, and sexual battery.
Tier 3: High Risk
Under Tier 3, sex offenders are considered “high risk” for committing another similar offense. Those who fall into this tier must register for life. This tier is typically reserved for more serious felony convictions of sex crimes. Examples of crimes that fit into Tier 3 include human trafficking, felony child pornography, forcible rape, and kidnapping with the intent to commit a sexual offense.
Requirements for Maintaining Compliance with Registration
In order to avoid additional misdemeanor or felony charges, registrants must follow certain requirements throughout their time on the registry. These include but might not be limited to:
- Checking in with local law enforcement agencies within five days before or after their birth date each year
- Updating and informing local law enforcement of a change of address within five days
- Notifying local law enforcement if they are planning to travel outside of the state or country
Under certain circumstances, registrants may be required to check in more frequently. For example, if the registrant is transient, they must check in with local law enforcement in whatever city they are currently residing in every 30 days, whereas high-risk, violent offenders may be required to check in every 90 days in addition to the other requirements above. Failure to comply may result in a new misdemeanor or felony charge, so it is important to speak with an attorney if you are unsure of your specific requirements.
For registrants who attend a California university as either a student or employee, there are additional requirements. Registrants must inform their campus police department of their registration status within five days of enrollment or employment and provide their current address. If the registrant moves or leaves the school, they must again inform campus police and update the information within five days.
Requirements for Disclosure on Megan’s Law Website
The Megan’s Law website is used to publicly disclose information about registered sex offenders. The requirements for disclosure vary depending on the tier an offender is in. Tier 1 offenders who do not pose a threat to the greater population will likely not be required to disclose any information on the website. For Tier 2 and Tier 3 offenders, all information on the website must be accurate, up-to-date, and include a current photograph. Additionally, Tier 3 offenders must also disclose their residential addresses, employment addresses, and other places they frequent.
Three-Tier Sex Offender System – Navigating the Complexity of California Sex Crime Charges with the Help of the Attorney at Dod Law, APC
California’s new three-tiered sex offender registration laws are designed to provide more tailored and appropriate registration requirements for those who have committed sex offenses, while also balancing the need to protect the public from dangerous and repeat offenders. As a registered sex offender, it is important to know and understand the laws and comply with all requirements to avoid any additional charges. If you have any questions or need help understanding your rights and obligations, it is best to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The experienced criminal defense team at Dod Law, APC is committed to helping those who are facing criminal charges, including sex offenses. Our attorneys have over 18 years of knowledge and experience to help ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the best possible outcome for your case. Don’t hesitate and risk your future, contact us online or call us at (619) 814-5110 today to schedule an appointment to speak with an attorney about your case.