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    What Happens If I Fail to Register as a Sex Offender in California?

    Posted on: November 18th, 2020 by Dod Law

    As a convicted sex offender, you may face more serious consequences after serving your sentence than had you been convicted of most other crimes. Society ostracizes sex offenders without even knowing what crimes they committed. Part of this is because many sex offenders must register as such by law. Being on the sex offender registry can make it extremely challenging to move on from a mistake for which you’ve paid your dues.

    In California, the actions that constitute a sex crime vary drastically. There are dozens of sex crime charges you may face, and many of these require sex offender registration upon a conviction. If you face charges for a sex crime in San Diego, Attorney Dod of Dod Law can help you preserve your reputation.

    Mandatory Sex Offender Registration Under Megan’s Law

    California made history when, in 1947, the state implemented the nation’s first sex offender registry. In 1996, Megan’s Law passed, giving the public access to information about sex offenders convicted of serious crimes. Information may include:

    • Photographs
    • Registrant’s name
    • Physical description
    • Registered sex offense
    • County of residence
    • Registrant’s zip code

    In some cases, the registry may even include the registrant’s home address. Anyone may access this information by visiting the California Attorney General’s website or their local police or sheriff’s department.

    If you’ve been required to register as a sex offender, you must register with the city or county in which you live. Your name, identifying information about your physical appearance, and other sensitive data will be made available to the public. If you have been convicted of a serious sex offense and are considered a high-risk offender, your home address may also be made public.

    Where Can Sex Offenders Register in California?

    Sex offenders must register at a police department and the applicable agency in the town or city you live in. You must register annually within five days of your birthday and any time you move within the state of California. If you fail to register as a sex offender, you may face a misdemeanor or felony charge.

    How Long Will I Be on the Sex Offender Registry?

    The State of California has devised a three-tiered system for sex offender registration. Low level sex offenders are assigned to tier one, which means they will need to be registered for a minimum of 10 years. Mid-level offenders in tier two must stay on the registry for 20 years. The most severe offenders are assigned to tier three and must remain on the registry for life.

    How Will the Prosecution Prove I Failed to Register as a Sex Offender?

    To convict you of failure to register as a sex offender, the prosecution must establish the following elements:

    • You have a conviction for a sex offense requiring you to register as a sex offender;
    • You live in California;
    • You had knowledge of your obligation to register as a sex offender; and
    • You intentionally or willfully failed to register in the city or county you live in on or within five days of your birthday.

    The prosecution may show you had knowledge of your obligation if they gave you notice in court, if you were given a written notice of your duty to register when you were released from jail or prison, or if you received a copy of the complaint against you at your arraignment. The complaint would include a list of criminal charges, of which some or all may have required your registration.

    Potential Penalties for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender

    The penalties you may face for failure to register as a sex offender under Penal Code 290 depend on whether you were convicted of a misdemeanor or felony sex offense and/or whether you have previously been convicted of failure to register.

    Your first offense of failure to register as a sex offender may lead to:

    • A jail sentence of up to 12 months, and/or
    • A fine of up to $1,000

    If you had a valid reason for failing to register as a sex offender on time and it is your first offense, the court may decide to drop the charges against you. Talk to Attorney Dod to find out what the likely outcome of your case might be.

    Committed Sex Crime Defense Lawyer in San Diego

    Attorney Dod of Dod Law has defended clients accused of sex crimes in and around San Diego for more than 17 years. He knows what it takes to create a strong defense that will hold up to scrutiny in court. If you’re facing the possibility of a sex crime conviction for which you’d need to register as a sex offender, it’s imperative to fight to protect your reputation as soon as possible.

    For a free criminal defense consultation with Attorney Dod, call (619) 814-5110 or complete our contact form.

    At a Glance

    Meet Attorney Dod Ghassemkhani

    • Recent Case Results
    • San Diego Criminal Defense Bar Association | Named San Diego County’s 2023 Trial Lawyer Of The Year
    • Award Winning Criminal Defense Attorney
    • The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyers
    • Over 20 years of criminal defense experience
    • 10.0 “Superb” Avvo Rating