California Penal Code 290 – Sex Offender Registry
If you are convicted of a sex crime in Riverside, California, you will likely be required to register with local law enforcement agencies as a sex offender. Your name and possibly your contact information will be listed on the registry, which is available to the public through Megan’s Law. Megan’s Law made it possible for the public to access information that had previously been available only to law enforcement agencies. The law was born from the case of a New Jersey girl named Megan Kanka. A known child molester who had moved in across the street from Megan’s home raped and killed her. The law was enacted in New Jersey but was adopted by all states including California.
Related to Megan’s Law is Jessica’s law named after Jessica Lunsford from Florida. Jessica was also raped and killed by a convicted sex offender. Based on Jessica’s Law, California increased penalties for sex offenders, extended parole for some sex crimes, expanded the definition of some sexual offenses, required lifetime GPS monitoring for offenders judged to be high risk, and prohibits sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a place where children gather or a school. The last provision is especially difficult for registered sex offenders as the number of schools, public parks, and other “places where children gather” is extremely high in California.
Your Duties Under the Sex Offenders Registry
One you are convicted of a California sex crime, you will be on the sex offenders registry for the rest of your life. The California Department of Justice oversees the Sex Offender Tracking Program and maintains the online list of registrants. Depending on the crime, your name, address, picture, and offense will be listed on a website for the public to access. You will be required to contact the local law enforcement agency closest to your residence within five days of your sentence (if no prison time is ordered), your release from custody, or your discharge from a mental institution or hospital to registry.
You must notify the local law enforcement agency every time you move and contact the agency every year on your birthday. As discussed above, the last duty is to reside a minimum of 2,000 feet from any parks, schools, or other places where children gather. This duty is particularly difficult for many people on the registry because they must research any area where they want to live before moving there.
Unfortunately, once you are listed on the Riverside, California, sex offender registry, your neighbors can look you up. You are viewed as a threat in the neighborhood and subjected to shame, and in some cases, harassment. Even though you have been convicted of a sex crime, you have rights just as any other person. In order to protect your freedom, you need to consult with an experienced Riverside, California, criminal defense attorney to discuss your rights as well as the possibility of your removal from the sex offender registry.
Removal from the California Sex Offender List
Getting your name off this list, and therefore the public website, can mean the opportunity to move forward and resume a normal life. Being on the list can have a negative impact on your entire life and place a stigma on you that even your family and friends do not want to associate with you. It can affect your employment by limiting the types of jobs that are available to you. However, an experienced Riverside, California, criminal defense lawyer can apply to have your named removed from the website.
Depending on the type of sex crime you were convicted of, you may qualify for a Certificate of Rehabilitation under Penal Code sections 4852.01 through 4852.21. If you are successful, you will no longer be required to register on the sex offender list. In order to be eligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation, you must:
- Be a resident of California for a least five years;
- Have been living an “honest and moral” life for the past 10 years since your release from custody, probation, or parole;
- Not be in custody, on parole, or on probation for any reason; and,
- There are no criminal charges pending against you at the time of the petition.
A hearing will be held before a judge to hear testimony regarding your petition. The state may or may not object to your petition. If you can convince the judge that you are no longer a threat, your name can be removed from the sex offender registry and your requirements on Penal Code 290 are relieved forever.
Your attorney can also file an appeal of your conviction if there are grounds that would make your conviction unlawful. Another option is to file a habeas corpus motion asking that the conviction be set aside because you were not properly informed of the sex registration requirement. In People v. Zaidi, a California appellate court overturned a conviction because the man was not advised of the sex registration requirement.
Contact an Experienced Sex Crimes Attorney in Riverside, California
If you or a family member has been charged with a California sex crime, it is very important that you seek immediate counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your chances of avoiding conviction are greater if you retain an attorney with experience in this area of law immediately after you are arrested or charged, or if you anticipate being arrested or charged with a crime.
The attorneys at Greenberg & Greenberg, APLC are former district attorneys with over 50 years of experience in criminal law. Our attorneys use the knowledge they gained as district attorneys to aggressively represent their clients against sex crime charges. You can contact our office at (951) 274-0003 to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled criminal defense lawyers. Someone is available to answer your call 24 hours per day. Our attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation in order to develop a strong defense strategy to protect your freedom.