When a person is convicted of a sex crime, Megan’s Law dictates that the convicted sex offender must register as a sex offender with both state and local authorities.
Under Megan’s Law, the public can be notified about sex offender registrants that may pose a risk. This law was enacted in 1996 after seven-year-old Megan Kanka was raped and killed by a known molester. The molester relocated, and the Kanka family, and neighborhood, had no knowledge of the previous offenses.
California started sex offender registration in 1947. It has the largest number of sex offenders of any state because of its high population and lifetime sex offender registration requirement. There are over eleven thousand registered sex offenders in Los Angeles County.
However, many of the registrants are only Tier I sexual offenders, meaning their offense is not punishable by more than one year in prison. Tier I acts could be public urination, sexting, or have only been convicted of one sex crime.
After a sex offender is convicted, the registrant must go to his/her local police department to register in person. He/she has five business days to register after being released from custody. Registrants have to update their registration annually. They must renew it within five business days of their birthday.
In addition, they must register with other local authorities under these circumstances:
- When they move to a new city, county, or state. Registrants should contact the new local authorities.
- When they enroll at or work at any college or higher education system. Registrants should contact the campus police.
- When they go to school or work outside of their residing state. Registrants should contact authorities in the state where they are in school or where they are working.
If registrants fail to register, they face felony or misdemeanor charges and up to three years in prison.
California allows searches by name, address, city/town, zip code, county, and state. It depends on the severity of the convictions on how much information on registrants is available. When the public searches for registered sex offenders through Megan’s Law, there is a disclaimer that explains the use of the search, legal limits of disclosures, errors and omissions, and mistaken identities.
We are experienced sex crime defense lawyers. We will turn over every piece of evidence to create the best possible defense for you and your future. If you need a sex crime defense lawyer, contact Greenberg & Greenberg, A Professional Law today.