Sex Offender Registration

California Penal Code Section 290

The Law

California Penal Code Section 290

California Penal Code Section 290 makes it mandatory for every person convicted of a sex offense to register with local law enforcement for the REST OF HIS LIFE.

This means that if a person is convicted of a sex offense, he must register with the law enforcement office that has jurisdiction over his residence. This must be done within 5 working days of moving into the jurisdiction. This must also be done within 5 working days of the offender’s birthday.

What does this mean?

A person required to register must go down to local law enforcement to have his picture taken, provide his fingerprints and provide his address. This information is then put in a statewide database that is available to the public.

Since 2004, this information has been available to the public at meganslaw.ca.gov. Many counties also have a website devoted to listing all registered sex offenders.

What if the offender does not register?

If the original sex offense was a misdemeanor, a conviction for failure to register is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail. (Penal Code Section 290.018)

If the original sex offense was a felony, a conviction for failure to register is a felony that carries a sentence of a minimum 90 days in jail to a maximum three years in prison. (Penal Code Section 290.018)

Is there any way around this requirement?

In a word: No. Once a person is convicted of a sex offense, he must follow the Penal Code Section 290 requirements for the REST OF HIS LIFE. Neither the court nor the prosecutor has the power to do away with or shorten this requirement.

How can a person avoid sex offender registration?

The only way to avoid sex offender registration is to avoid conviction of a sex offense. Prosecutors may offer a “deal” that allows the accused to stay out of prison. But it is rare that a prosecutor will dismiss the count that requires registration.

Many times, the only way to avoid sex offender registration is to have a trial and be found not guilty. That is why it is imperative to have an attorney who is knowledgeable in the law and experienced in the courtroom.

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