Houman Fakhimi

Orange County Sex Crimes Stay With a Defendant Forever

A recent story out of Rancho Santa Margarita highlights the importance of aggressively fighting an Orange County sex crime -- the fact that a conviction stays with a defendant for the rest of their life.

According to the news article, published by the Rancho Santa Margarita Patch, a convicted sex offender was charged with annoying a child under 18 and he will face a felony because of his past convictions. Orange County Criminal Defense Attorneys understand that there is a stigma attached to sex crimes and that it is easy for politicians to look good in the public eye by condemning these defendants and increasing penalties, but sex crimes are the one type of crime a person can face and be penalized for life, years after serving time for the crime.

That's because certain defendants convicted of sex crimes must be registered in the California Sex Offender Registry under Megan's Law as well as in the United States Department of Justice Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website.

In California, there are more than 33,500 offenders registered in the website, which is accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world. It includes information such as the person's name, address, photo, tattoos or other identifiable marks and other information.

So, even years or decades after a person is convicted of a crime and after they have served time as a punishment, they can be punished again with these state and national registries. They are forced to register with the local law enforcement agency where they live, work and frequent and neighbors may get fliers telling them they are living nearby.

And the registry doesn't apply only to people convicted of violent sex crimes, as one might expect.

In Rancho Santa Margarita, police arrested a 46-year-old man who authorities say was following a 13-year-old girl around a grocery store. After the girl's mother confronted the man, he drove off, but she wrote down his license plate. She used the state's sex offender registry, searching hundreds of photos before settling on this man's photo and telling authorities.

Because the man is on active parole and was wearing a GPS surveillance monitor at the time, authorities were able to pinpoint his location at the time of the incident and use surveillance footage to make the arrest.

In this case, the state's registry led to this man's arrest, though he hasn't been convicted. And based on his prior history, it's possible it made the decision by law enforcement officers to charge him with a felony that much easier.

Contact an Orange County criminal defense attorney at (714) 705-6701 as soon as possible if you are charged with a crime. Protecting your rights and setting up an aggressive defense at the beginning stages is critical in defending against criminal charges.