Ways to Terminate Sex Offender Registration in California

Provided you are no longer deemed a threat to society and meet the eligibility requirements for terminating sex offender registration, there are no reasons why you would remain on the California sex offender registry. In 2017, California’s governor passed SB 384, tailored to offer registered sex offenders an opportunity to file a termination of the sex offender registration obligations. Other options include expungement, a Certificate of Rehabilitation, and removal from the Megan’s Law website.

The skilled lawyers at Record Expungement Attorney understand the challenges a registered sex offender living in Newport Beach faces. We can explore your available options based on your case facts and guide you throughout the legal process.

California Sex Offender Registration Law

The law requires you to register as a sex offender in California if convicted of some sex crimes.

Previously, every sexual offense needed lifetime registration. However, after SB 384 became effective in 2021, many defendants sentenced for a sex offense should register for only ten or twenty years. Only persons found guilty of the most severe sex offenses should register as sex offenders for life.

The legal term “registration” means keeping the local law enforcers informed of your whereabouts provided you attend school, live, or work in California.

The registration system under Senate Bill 384 introduces three (3) tiers, namely:

  • Tier 1 assigned for low-level sex crimes carrying a 10-year sex offender registration.
  • Tier 2 assigned for mid-level sexual offenses carrying a twenty-year registration.
  • Tier 3 for the most serious sex crimes, which require compulsory lifetime registration.

Tier 1 crimes include:

  • Misdemeanor sexual battery per PC 243.4.
  • Penal Code Section 243.4 PC sexual battery (felony charges) if the alleged victim is seeking medical treatment or is medically incapacitated or severely disabled, if the victim did not consent to the touching, or if the touch was for sexual abuse, gratification, or arousal purposes.
  • Sodom as a California misdemeanor (PC 286).
  • Misdemeanor oral copulation under PC 287.
  • Misdemeanor child pornography (PC 311.11 and 311.1).
  • Indecent exposure under PC 314.
  • Felony oral copulation under PC 287 if there is no application of force.
  • Annoying a minor under PC 647.6 as your first-time crime.

Tier 2 sex offenses include the following:

  • Incest (PC 285).
  • Rape under PC 261.
  • Sodomy under PC 286 where the victim could not lawfully consent owing to developmental disability, physical disability, or mental disorder.
  • Lewd conduct with a child below 14 under PC 288.
  • Oral copulation with a child below fourteen while you are less than ten years older than the victim and you did not use force (PC 287).
  • Sexual penetration using a foreign substance when the alleged victim cannot consent because of a physical disability, developmental disability, or mental disorder (PC 289).
  • Annoying a minor for a subsequent crime (PC 647.6).

Tier three offenses include the following:

  • Murder committed at the time of an attempted commission or commission of rape.
  • Kidnapping committed during an attempted commission or commission of rape.
  • Assault intending to violate a felony crime.
  • Rape.
  • Felony sexual battery.
  • Spousal rape using force.
  • Transporting a minor below 16 for lewd conduct.
  • Aggravated child sexual assault.
  • Taking away a child for prostitution purpose.
  • Sodomy using force.
  • Oral copulation using force.
  • Child pornography.

The judge could also require you to register for any crime- even if it is not outlined in the California Sex Offender Registration Act if they believe the defendant acted for sexual satisfaction or based on sexual compulsion.

Registration Duties

To meet your reporting requirements per PC 290, you should register your address with law enforcers within five days of the:

  • Release from police custody.
  • A mental health facility or hospital discharge.
  • Sentence.

depending on the earliest release.

After your registration, the court will notify the Department of Justice, which will monitor the reporting adherence. The law requires you to update your information annually within five days of your birthday. Additionally, the registration requirements depend on factors like whether:

  • The judge considers you a sexually violent predator.
  • You relocated.
  • You are a transient.
  • You are employed by or enrolled at an educational institution within the state.

Certificate of Rehabilitation (COR)

Per PC 4852, a COR is a court order granted by a judge who has determined that you have been rehabilitated after serving time. Essentially, the COR informs the public that the court deems you a law-abiding citizen.

While your conviction will remain on your criminal record after the judge grants the COR, you can use it when your criminal background check is conducted to prove that you have taken the essential steps to become a law-abiding citizen.

On top of ending the sex offender registration obligations under PC 290, it can be helpful when applying for credit, employment, housing, or educational opportunities. It also makes it easy to acquire a state professional license. State agencies should not deny you a professional license based on your previous conviction.

You qualify for this post-conviction relief if all the statements below are correct:

  • You have been sentenced for another crime following your criminal case dismissal or completion.
  • You are not on probation for a felony conviction.
  • You have resided in Golden State for five (5) continuous years.
  • You were sentenced for a misdemeanor sex crime per Penal Code section 290, and the court expunged the criminal record.

Ineligible Persons

You do not meet the COR relief requirements if you:

  • are serving in the United States military.
  • having been sentenced to lifetime parole or death.
  • are serving a life sentence.

Also, sex offenses involving minors are ineligible for this post-conviction relief. They include severe felony sex crimes like:

  • Sodomy with a child.
  • Oral copulation.
  • Forcible sexual penetration of a minor (California Penal Code 289(j)).

Finally, the court can deem you ineligible if it believes you are a risk to children. However, you can qualify for a traditional governor’s pardon.

COR Application Requirements

You should prove a satisfactory rehabilitation period before the judge grants the COR. Generally, it is five years of living in the Golden State plus two (2) to five (5) more years. The duration depends mainly on your alleged crime.

Most sex crimes require waiting for ten years before filing a COR application. However, a violation of sexual child exploitation law, indecent exposure, and child pornography require an additional two-year period.

The rehabilitation period is the period that has passed for you to file your COR petition. It is not guaranteed that the judge will grant the petition. The clock begins ticking after you complete your felony probation or parole or are released from supervision.

When applying for COR, you should first visit the court website for your county of residence. Second, you should obtain your criminal records copies through the court or the Department of Justice (DOJ). It is because you should submit information regarding your:

  • Conviction.
  • Release date.
  • Sentence.
  • Parole.
  • Probation.

There are no filing fees or court charges related to obtaining a certificate of rehabilitation. However, if you have retained a lawyer, you should cater for the attorney costs.

While you do not require legal guidance when filling out the applications, the petition is complicated, and even a minor error could lead to your petition being denied. Also, you should attend a court hearing to aid the judge in determining whether to deny or grant the certificate.

Ultimately, the judge will decide based on your conduct after the release, your prison records, and the circumstances surrounding your underlying crime. Other factors the judge will consider include the following:

  • Your court proceedings records.
  • The criminal history.
  • When you completed parole or probation.
  • Family and community ties.
  • Any opinions the district attorney presents.

Some of the pieces of evidence you can use to persuade the court that you have been rehabilitated include the following:

  • Proof of employment or enrolment in school.
  • Your education and employment history.
  • Letters of recommendation from people who can vouch for you.
  • Evidence of your residence.
  • Proof of counseling.
  • Any evidence that demonstrates your rehabilitation, eligibility, and character.

During the hearing, the prosecutor can agree that COR should be granted or argue that the judge should deny it. Then the judge will make the ultimate decision.

If the judge grants the certificate, you have a court order indicating that you are rehabilitated. Moreover, the court will be sent to the Governor’s office as the Governor’s Pardon application.

How Long Does It Take to Obtain the COR

The process can take up to six months. Generally, it takes approximately two months from the petition filing to the court hearing date.

Your skilled defense attorney should help you determine the duration.

Removal from Megan’s Law Website

California makes details about convicted sex offenders accessible through the Megan’s Law website.

There are five (5) classes of California sex offender registrants per Megan’s Law, including:

  • Home address disclosure — If the defendant has been found guilty of a crime under PC 290.46(b)(i), their home address and name will be accessible on the website.
  • Conditional home address disclosure — The public can access your name and home address if you are sentenced for a crime under PC 290.46 (c)(i).
  • Zip code disclosure — If a person is convicted of a crime under PC 290.46(d)(i), DOJ will reveal their zip code and name on the website. Please note the public cannot access the home address.
  • Excludable — If the defendant has been sentenced for any of these offenses and presents proof that they are a SARATSO risk level of low or moderate (PC 290.46 (e)(i), they can apply to have the name excluded from the website:
  1. Sexual battery as a felony under PC 243.4a.
  2. Child molestation as a misdemeanor (PC 647.6).
  3. Felony child pornography where the alleged victim was older than 16 years.
  4. Any crime that did not entail oral copulation or penetration and the alleged victim was either the defendant’s grandchild, sibling, child, or stepchild, and you have completed probation.
  • Undisclosed — If the conviction is not within one of the categories mentioned above, your details will be unveiled on the website.

If the criminal matter is in the undisclosed class and the defendant’s details are on Megan’s law website, the judge should remove it.
If the case is in the “Excludable” class, you should file a petition with the Attorney General’s office requesting the sex offender information to be removed from the database. Your application should have all lawfully required materials. Otherwise, the DOJ will deny it.

Please note that you do not qualify for probation if:

  • the court considers you a sexually violent predator under WIC 660, or
  • are convicted of rape accomplished by fear or force (PC 261), kidnapping (PC 207), or murder (PC 187).

In this case, your petition exclusion from the Megan’s Law website should include copies of the probation report and pre-sentence report, among other documentation showing the crime did not involve oral copulation or penetration and that it did not involve your sibling, grandchild, stepchild, or child.

If you believe you qualify for the removal, you should complete an application form the Internet Disclosure, form CJIS 4046D, and submit it to the DOJ.

You can use a letter from your criminal defense lawyer indicating mitigating circumstances, rehabilitation, and the impact of being on the Megan’s Law website. The letter should be comprehensive, outlining the following:

  • Why the exclusion from the website is essential, given how long you have been publicly identified.
  • Your age.
  • Your employment status.
  • Being barred from engaging in community activities.
  • How your details being on the internet has adversely affected your family.

The DOJ will take approximately thirty days to proceed with your application.

Senate Bill 384

Senate Bill 384 replaced California’s Sex Offender Registration Act with a tier-based schema. Registrants no longer have to register as lifetime sex offenders.

SB 384 established 3-tiers of registration for adult registrants for ten years, twenty years, and life. Moreover, it introduced two tiers of registration for juvenile defendants for five years and ten years.

The time frame begins once you are released from commitment to your crime or incarceration. However, the time frame can be tolled once you are rearrested.

Additionally, Senate Bill 384 sets out the tier designation criteria. The court will consider the following:

  • The crime’s nature.
  • Number and age of the victim.
  • Your conduct both after and before the crime.
  • Whether you have a previous criminal record for sexually motivated crimes.
  • Your risk level per the State-Authorized Risk Assessment Tool for Sex Offenders (SARATSO) for violent, static, and dynamic risk assessments.

The judge could also require you to register even if your charges are not listed in the act if you committed a crime for sexual gratification purposes or out of sexual compulsion.

How to Remove Your Name from the Registry?

Getting your name removed from the California sex offender registry is not automatic. You should file a petition with the court. After receiving the application, the police should provide a report to the prosecutor within sixty days about their recommendation concerning the petition.

You should file your petition after or on your first birthday once your minimum registration period expires.

The prosecutor has sixty days to schedule a court hearing after receiving the report. The prosecutor can object to the petition if they think your continued registration will enhance public safety.

If the judge denies your petition, they should outline the reasons and set the duration after which you can re-apply for sex offender registration termination. The period must be between one year and five years.

How SB 384 Treats Out−of−State Sex Offenders

For registrable sex crimes that occurred in another state, SB 384 looks for equivalent sex offenses for registration. It means some individuals who do not have to register as sex offenders in another state could be required to register once they relocate to the Golden State. It also applies to people who leave the state.

If there are no corresponding registrable California crimes, your out-of-state criminal history will result in Tier 2 registration. However, you should register as a Tier 3 if one of these statements is correct:

  • You are deemed a sexually violent predator.
  • Your static risk assessment in SARATSO is above average during your release.
  • You were later found guilty in a different proceeding for a significantly identical crime as the one that resulted in registration. responsibilities, or the crime is identical to:
  1. A violent felony under PC 667.5.
  2. Sexual conduct with a minor below ten (PC 288.7).
  3. Aggravated sexual assault of a minor (PC 269).

If deemed a Tier 3 sex offender, you should register as a sex offender for life in California.

Consequences for Failing to Register

There is no statute of limitations for a sex offender registration failure since California courts consider it a continuous crime.

Penalties for failure to register (FTR) can be detrimental. You could spend a one-year county jail sentence for a California misdemeanor FTR conviction. You could spend a maximum of three years in California state prison if your underlying sex crime is a California felony.

Moreover, if the primary sex crime was severe or violent (strike), you are subject to enhanced sentencing.

Find a Seasoned Record Expungement Attorney Near Me

All convicted sex offenders working, living, or studying in Newport Beach should register as sex offenders. Having your identifying information posted online and publicly available could significantly affect your ability to secure housing and employment. However, with the help of the legal team at Record Expungement Attorney, you can terminate the registration obligation. We can review your case and explore the available options, giving you a fresh start. Please contact us at 714-587-5907 to schedule your no-obligation initial consultation and learn how we can help you.

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Call 714-587-5907 24/7 if you want to retain excellent attorneys.

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