Under the California law, it is a requirement of all classified sex offenders to register their personal information with local law enforcement agencies. Registration is recurring meaning that you are required to provide your personal information more than just one time. Sex offenders that fail to keep up with the obligations of their registration may be charged with failure to register under California Penal Code 290. The fines and prison times may vary according to your classified tier, a crime that occurred while you were required to register, and the number of times you have failed to register.
If you have been charged with failure to register as a sex offender in the state of California, it is crucial that you speak with a criminal law attorney about your case. In some cases, our attorney is capable of dropping the charges or having the charges reduced depending on the facts regarding your failure to register. We believe that sex offender registration is already enough of a punishment which is why we will work to challenge the charges for failure to register.
There are a number of reasons why a person may have failed to register their personal information. Keep in mind that simply forgetting to register is not an excuse that may dismiss your charges. In order to successfully drop the charges for violating Penal Code 290, the defendant needs to have a legitimate reason for failing to register. Some of the following reasons may be enough to help reduce the charges or have the charges dismissed:
- You were not informed about your sex offender registration obligations. After being convicted of a sex crime, the law enforcement agency is required to make sure that you are fully aware of your sex offender registration obligations. This includes being informed regarding the number of times you are required to register, the dates you are required to register, and other aspects regarding sex offender status.
- You registered but your information was not saved. If you know you registered and yet you still receive notice of a failure to register, then it is best to contact an attorney that can help prove that the fault was on the side of the administration. In an office setting, papers get lost all the time and now with the use of technology it is not uncommon to hear of documents being lost or deleted on accident. If you registered and your status shows that you did not register, it is best to challenge the case in a courtroom.
- You are falsely accused by your local law enforcement agent. Due to the stigmas that surround sex offenders, you will find people targeting in all aspects of your life. In some cases, you may be falsely accused by law enforcement personnel.
Sex offenders have to live a long period of time with sex offender registration obligations. Those who fail to register their information at the appropriate time may face charges for failing to update this information. If you have failed to register your personal information to the local law enforcement agency, you may want to speak with an attorney to help you fight the charges. The Orange County Criminal Attorney understands the complexities that exist when a person is required to abide by sex offender registration obligations. To schedule a consultation and to learn more about your case, you may reach our office via email or you may call us at 714-831-1858.
The following will discuss the obligations of sex offenders, the penalties that arise from failure to register as a sex offender, the types of crimes that require an individual to register as a sex offender, and other matters pertaining to Megan’s law. Keep in mind that the following is a broad interpretation of the law. If you wish to know the exact details of your case, you are advised to seek local legal assistance.
Sex Offender Obligations
If you live in the state of California and you have been convicted of a serious sex crime, you may be required to register as a sex offender. In California, Megan’s Law requires that all sex offenders register with local law enforcement agencies so that their information is made public. The information in sex offender registries can be accessed online and can be seen by just about anyone. Sex offender registration information can be viewed by your future employer, your love interest, and your neighbors. The registry was created to ensure public safety, to inform those in your neighborhood about your status as a sex offender.
When you register with a local law enforcement agency, you will need to provide the following information:
- Your full legal name
- Personal information regarding your eye color, height, and weight
- Your residency information
- If you attend a school you need to provide the name of your school
- Professional information regarding your employer
- In some cases your vehicle information
- The sex crime you committed
The information mentioned is visible by law enforcement agents and by those who visit the sex offender registration online. Keep in mind that your residency information is usually not visible by the public, however, if you are a repeated sex offender, then that information will become public knowledge.
A sex offender in the state of California is required to provide the information mentioned above upon being released back into society. Once you have served a jail sentence, you will be required to visit a local law enforcement agency within five days of your release and provide the information mentioned above.
Additionally, you will be required to update the information every year (at least five days after your birth date) or every time you move from your residency. This means that if you are living in the Los Angeles County and you move to Orange County, you will be required to register with the Orange County law enforcement agency.
Aside from the obligations mentioned above, a sex offender is required to live a certain distance away from schools, parks, or places where children are found. This can mean that you may be required to move from your existing residency in order to comply with Megan's Law. Furthermore, sex offenders are not allowed to celebrate Halloween activities as they pose a threat to the children who participate in Halloween events.
The Three Tier System
Depending on the nature of your crime, you will be placed in one of three tiers. Tier 1 sex offenders are required to maintain registration for a minimum of ten years, Tier 2 sex offenders are required to maintain a registry for at least 20 years, and tier 3 sex offenders are required to maintain a registry for a lifetime.
Sex offenders who fail to register their information with local law enforcement agencies may face charges for violating Penal Code 290.
Some examples include:
- Jane resides in the Orange County and is a Tier 2 sex offender. Jane has to maintain registration for at least 20 years. Within the first year, Jane decides to move to San Francisco. While in San Francisco, Jane fails to register her information within five days with the local law enforcement agency. Jane can be charged for violating her sex offender registration obligations.
- Nate a college graduate was convicted of a sex crime while attending the local university. Upon graduation, Nate decides to stop registering his information and decides that it is now a figment of his past. Though Nate wants to put the happening behind him and start fresh, he is still required to live by the mandates of Megan's Law. Nate can be charged for violating Penal Code 290.
No matter what reason you may have to avoid registration, if you are registered sex offender, you are required to abide by Megan's Law until a) you pass away or b) you successfully complete your registration period and you are let off the hook. Failure to maintain registration can result in misdemeanor or felony charges.
Penal Code 290 Penalties
Failure to register as a sex offender is a crime that can be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony. A misdemeanor is charged when the original sex crime resulted in a misdemeanor. Likewise, if your original crime resulted in a felony, then failure to register will result in felony charges. To avoid additional charges, you are encouraged to learn more about the California Megan's Law.
Misdemeanor: failure to register as a sex offender when your original crime resulted in a misdemeanor can result in up to one year in jail and up to one thousand dollars in fines
Felony: failure to register as a sex offender when your original crime resulted in a felony can result in up to three years in jail and up to ten thousand dollars in fines.
On another note, if your original crime resulted in a misdemeanor, but you have failed to register more than once, then your future offense may be charged with a felony. Additionally, if during the time period you commit another sex crime, then you can expect greater consequences for failing to register as a sex offender.
Furthermore, under the California Three Strikes Law, failure to register as a sex offender can result in a strike. This is true if the following applies to you: 1) you have been charged with a felony for a sex crime, 2) you have been charged with two prior felonies, 3) a prior felony was charged for a sex crime.
If you are in the state of California and you required to register as a sex offender, then it is best to maintain your registration until you are legally not required to do so. Failure to register as a sex offender is a very serious crime that can result in additional penalties and jail sentences. Additionally, failure to register is a crime that can count as a crime towards your three strikes. If you are charged with failure to register, you are encouraged to speak with a local criminal law attorney about your case. We understand that there are a number of legitimate reasons why a person has failed to register as a sex offender and we will fight in a courtroom to ensure you are not punished under PC 290.
PC 290 Legal Defenses
Those who have failed to register as sex offenders either after they have served a jail sentence or have failed their annual sex offender registration should know that there a number of ways to challenge charges under PC 290. An experienced criminal law attorney can help reduce the charges or drop the charges altogether if he or she is able to prove that you did not act with the intention to violate the registry obligations. Some of the following legal defenses may be applicable to your case.
Your actions were not intentional
As mentioned above, the simple fact of forgetting to register is not reason enough to get you off the hook. However, there are two ways in which you can prove your intentions were not out of negligence. First and foremost, you can get off the hook meaning you can avoid charges under PC 290 if you have a medically related excuse. For instance, if you were sick and stuck in bed for a week and you could not make it to the police station then you may have a real reason for failing to register as sex offender.
Ex: Frank is a tier one sex offender and has recently been in a car crash. The car crash left Frank in a coma for more than one week. During that week, Frank was required to update his sex offender registry. Now, Frank is facing charges under Penal Code 290. The law enforcement agency is not aware of the accident and therefore presses charges. However, Frank works with an attorney that can help prove that he did not willfully avoid the registration obligations. Since Frank was in a coma during the registration period, he will most likely not face charges for PC 290.
Another way to prove your actions were not intentional is if you did not know about your obligations to register as a sex offender. This is an excuse that can be used by individuals that were not notified of their obligations as a sex offender upon release. Before being released back into society, the law enforcement agency is required to let you know about your obligations under Megan's Law. Furthermore, if English is your second language and you did not fully understand your obligations then you may have a good reason to challenge the case in a courtroom.
Your paperwork was lost
If you know you registered and yet you receive notice that your paperwork is missing, then you should contact a lawyer immediately. Individuals that send in their information to the local law enforcement agency will find that things get lost all the time. If your paperwork is misplaced or your information was uploaded inaccurately then you have reason to fight the charges in a courtroom.
You are falsely accused
Sex offenders usually get the lower end of the boot in society. Often times they will face discrimination from employers and law enforcement agents. If you think you are being falsely accused by your law enforcement agency it is best to contact a lawyer to help fight on your behalf. If you law enforcement agent claims they have lost your paperwork, then you shouldn't have to pay the price for their mistake.
Crimes that Lead to Sex Offender Status
- Penal Code 243.4 Sexual Assault and Battery: touching or attempting to touch someone in a sexual way can result in charges under PC 243.4
- Penal Code 314 Indecent Exposure: exposing your genitals to the general public to satisfy a sexual pleasure can result in charges under PC 314
- Penal Code 261 General Rape: forcing yourself upon someone else and penetrating them is considered rape and will usually result in tier three registration.
- Penal Code 261.5 Statutory rape is rape that involves a person under the age of 18. The crime is charged as a felony
- Penal Code 262: spousal rape
- Penal Code 288a: oral copulation otherwise known as forced oral sex
- Penal Code 289: it is ‘rape’ to sexually penetrate a person with a foreign object or device
If you are charged for failing to register as a sex offender, you may want to speak with an attorney. Failing to register as a sex offender is a serious crime that can result in felony charges. To avoid additional fines and prison time, you may contact the Orange County Criminal Lawyer at 714-831-1858. We believe that sex offender status is enough of a punishment for those committing a sex crime. Sex offender registration punishes the individual for a very long time and it should be in your best interest to avoid charges under Penal Code 290. Our attorneys are ready to inform you about how you can challenge the charges for failing on your registration.