Sex Offender Registration Violations
For those convicted of a sex crime in California, any type of release requirements usually will include a P.C. 290 registration. Violation of this crucial compliance order can mean an immediate return to prison. Contact our Riverside & Orange County attorneys who specialize in P.C. 290 registration compliance to ensure your actions are in accordance with the law and how to avoid the violations that can land you back in prison.
It doesn’t take long following a release from incarceration to realize highly stigmatized sexually motivated offenses are not met with welcoming smiles in a community. Still, it doesn’t lessen the role of compliance that will now also be a part of your daily life. Sometimes known as Megan’s Law, California Penal Code 290 makes it a crime to fail to register as a sex offender. Knowingly and willfully failing to meet this requirement – even once or just a few days late – can trigger harsh penalties, including more and longer prison time.
The Riverside & Orange County sex crime defense lawyers at Fakhimi & Associates know these penalties can be severe. If the underlying offense was a misdemeanor, so too will a violation for failure to register. But that still carries up to one year in jail. Meanwhile, if the underlying offense was a felony, the failure to register under P.C. 290 will be a felony, which equates to a prison sentence of three years or more. Note that this doesn’t include fines and other penalties, such as extended probation, community service, and continuing education.
In some situations, failure to register can even be considered a third strike under California’s Three Strikes Law – meaning you could face 25-years-to-life imprisonment.
That will be the case for individuals who:
- Were required to register due to a felony sex crime conviction
- Were previously convicted of two prior serious or violent felonies and
- One of the previous felony convictions was for an especially serious crime (i.e., lewd acts or forcible sex crimes against a child under 14, any sexually violent offense and/or murder/manslaughter – including attempted).
It’s imperative for defendants facing these charges to seek proper legal counsel. There are often a number of viable defenses to a sex offender registration violation in California. We assist our clients in navigating those potential defenses to select the right defense moving forward.What is P.C. 290 Registration?
The law is named after a highly publicized case and restructures the process that California has had in place since 1947. California sex offenders have been required to register as a sex offender in the counties in which they are released for many years. That information was never made public, though, which meant communities were never made aware of the types of crimes that landed someone in prison.
Megan’s Law is named after seven-year-old Megan Kanka, a New Jersey girl who was raped and killed by a known registered sex offender who had moved across the street from the family without their knowledge. The Kankas, in their efforts of ensuring their daughter’s death had some kind of meaning, worked so that laws would be passed that would allow communities to be notified of all convicted sex offenders in the area. This is accomplished by mandatory registration of those released from prison following convictions of a number of different sex crimes. All states now have a form of Megan’s Law, including California.
The law is not intended to punish the registrant and specifically prohibits using the information to harass or commit any crime against a registrant, though it can be challenging for those on the registry who might be trying to acclimate themselves into a community, even a new community.
California was the first state in the country to enact a sex offender registration law. We are also home to the largest number of registered sex offenders of any state. That’s partially because California is one of the few states that requires lifetime sex offender registration, as opposed to registration that expires on a schedule depending on the nature and severity of the crime.What are the Crimes That Require P.C. 290 Registration?
Per P.C. 290, there are a number of offenses for which offenders must automatically register as sex offenders.
- Sexual battery, as outlined in P.C. 243.4
- Most violations of California’s rape law, per P.C. 261
- Most sexually motivated offenses against minors, including child pornography, aggravated and/or continual abuse of a child or lewd acts with a child, per P.C. 288
- Human trafficking for child pornography or prostitution-related purposes
- Violations of California’s indecent exposure statutes
- Forced, non-intercourse sex acts, such as forcible penetration with a foreign object or oral copulation by force or fear, per P.C. 289
Bear in mind judges do have some discretion in imposing a sex offender requirement for offenses not on this list, assuming it is determined the underlying crime was committed for sexual gratification or as a result of sexual compulsion.Are There 290 Registration Requirements in California?
The law states that in order to be charged with failure to register as a sex offender in Florida, prosecutors need to show:
- You were convicted of an offense for which registration was required.
- You lived in California (or worked or attended school here).
- You knew or should have known you had a duty to register.
- You willfully failed to register or update your registration as required.
- Individuals who are required to register must do so every year, and it has to be done within five business days of his or her birth date. If a person registers even just a few days late, it can be considered a violation.
Offenders must also register every time they change their residential address, and they must do so within five days of the date they move. Again, even a brief delay can have severe consequences.
Additional requirements are made for those in certain categories. For example, sex offenders who are “transient” have to register every single month. Offenders who are designated “sexually violent predators” have to register every three months.
Registrations and violations are monitored via the California Department of Justice’s Sex Offender Tracking Program.
About 75 percent of all registered sex offenders will have their information publicly displayed on California’s Department of Justice website. In some cases, the nature of the crimes are such that the information is excluded from public disclosure. Offenders can apply for a public disclosure exclusion if their crimes were misdemeanors and they successfully completed probation.Are There Legal Defenses for P.C. 290 Registration Violation in California?
Fortunately, there are a number of effective defenses your legal team may pursue in these cases.
One of the first defenses our sexual crimes attorneys may consider is the absence of a “willful” violation. That is, an offender either was not aware he or she was required to register or that you knew about it, but did not intentionally fail to do so.
The former may be difficult to prove, especially if there is paperwork you signed in court indicating you were aware of the requirement. But the latter may be proven if there was perhaps an illness or injury that prevented you from being able to handle this relatively routine requirement.
Another possibility is that defendant tried to register, but the information got lost or was never received. Sometimes this can be something as simple as a typo or an address error.
Regardless of the situation, we can likely help mitigate the potential consequences. We have helped many who were found to be in violation of P.C. 290 registration requirements get back on track, remain in compliance and move forward in their efforts of rebuilding their lives. Contact our Riverside & Orange County sex crimes attorneys today.