For people who find themselves on California’s sex offender registry, where they can live and work and who they are able to interact with are all restricted due to Megan’s Law.
Prior to the passing of Senate Bill 383, all sex offenders were required to register for life. However, on January 1, 2021, new guidelines were put into place about when sex offenders may petition to be removed from the California sex offender registry. As a result of SB 384, California sex offenders can now ask to be removed from the sex offender registry after a minimum registration period.
If you are currently on the California sex offender registry, it is worth speaking with an attorney to discuss your options and whether you might be eligible for removal.
Megan’s Law and the California sex offender registry
In 1994 in Hamilton Tonwnship, New Jersey, 7-year-old Megan Kanka was lured into her neighbor, Jesse Timmenduquas’ home where she was sexually assaulted and murdered. After discovering that Timmenduquas had been released after two prior convictions for the sexual assault of young girls, the public became outraged and Megan’s parents along with other members of the community petitioned the state of New Jersey to enact legislation that would ensure better public notification of sex offenders.
Following the institution of Megan’s Law in New Jersey, it was federally enacted in 1996 as an amendment to the Jacob Wetterling Act of 1994, which required states to register people who had been convicted of sex crimes against children.
Under Megan’s Law, states are encouraged to publicly disclose personal information about sex offenders such as their physical description, address, and date of their last conviction.
In the state of California, Megan’s Law is covered under the California penal code 290.46 and requires law enforcement to notify the public about sex offenders who may be considered a specific threat to public safety.
The California Sex and Arson Registry is located in the Office of Attorney General website and allows for anyone to search for offenders by name or area code. Personal details of offenders listed on the registry include their names, aliases, height, weight, date of birth, residential address, description of their offense, and year of last conviction along with photographs of the registered offender.
Under Megan’s Law, it is also illegal for a sex offender to access the Megan’s Law website. This misdemeanor offense is punishable by up to $1,000 in fines and 6 months in jail.
New California guidelines for removal from the sex offender registry
New state guidelines as of January 1, 2021 allow for California sex offenders to petition for removal from the registry based on their tier:
- Tier One sex offenders may be eligible for removal after 10 years
- Tier Two sex offenders may be eligible for removal after 20 years
- Tier Three sex offenders are still required to register for life
Note that it is possible in some cases for a Tier 3 sex offender to have their name removed from the registry if they have completed their prison sentence, fulfilled all requirements of their probation, and demonstrated that they are not a threat to public safety.
Can a sex offender be removed from the registry in California?
In California, it may be possible to have your name removed from the sex offender registry. Generally, removal is possible for offenders who have completed their prison sentence, fulfilled all requirements of their probation, and can demonstrate that they are not a threat to public safety.
Your attorney may assist you in asking for removal from the registry in one of two ways based on your specific circumstances. Those two ways are:
- Petitioning the court – if you’ve served the minimum registration period for your tier (listed above), you may make a formal petition for removal from the sex offender registry to the court.
- Submitting a Megan’s Law Exclusion Form to the California Department of Justice – a person can ask to be removed from the California sex offender registry if:
- They were convicted of sexual battery by restraint (PC 243.4a) or annoying or molesting a child (PC 647.6)
- They have obtained an expungement or a certificate of rehabilitation
- The offense for which they were convicted didn’t involve penetration or oral copulation
- The victim was their child, stepchild, grandchild, or sibling and they successfully completed their probation
It is important to note that it is possible for a person to be denied removal from the California sex offender registry even if you meet the above criteria if they are deemed a “sexually violent predator.” Additionally, if an offender’s name is removed from the California sex offender registry, it is still possible that they may be required to register as a sex offender in other states.
Ventura sex crimes attorney
If you’re interested in petitioning for removal from the California sex offender registry or would like to speak with an attorney about your options, Robert M. Helfend and his team are here to help.
As a sex crimes defense specialist with over 30 years of experience representing clients in Ventura and the Los Angeles area, Mr. Helfend can help you navigate the complicated California sex offender registry and intentionally confusing legal system. Removal from the sex offender registry can allow you to regain your freedom and identity. If you think you may be eligible, don’t wait, call our office today – 805-273-5611.