Since the passage of Senate Bill 145 and Senate Bill 384, laws regulating the requirements for California sex offenders and the state sex offender registry have changed.
Can You Be Removed from the California Sex Offender Registry?
One of the most popular questions regarding registering with the California Sex Offender Registry is whether the court will remove someone upon completing their sentence. Before the passage of Senate Bill 145 and Senate Bill 384, removal from the sex offender registry was not possible. Since the start of 2021, this is no longer the standard. Senate Bill 384 creates a three-tiered system that sets clear criteria a registered sex offender must meet to be eligible for removal from the registry.
Senate Bill 145:
The California Legislature passed Senate Bill 145 in early January 2021. After its passing, all sex offenders that the California courts convict must register with the California Sex Offender Registry if they violate one or more of the following sections of the California Penal Code:
- Sodomy-Section 286(b)
- Oral Copulation of a Child-Section 287(b)
- Penetration by a Foreign Object-Section 289(h) and/or (i)
Since SB 145, violations of these penal code sections no longer require all convicted offenders to register with the sex offender registry. Instead, a judge orders registration at their discretion so long as the circumstances of the case meet specific criteria. Registering with the California Sex Offender Registry may not be required by the judge upon conviction if:
- The defendant is no older than ten years old
- The child in question is at least 14 years of age
Senate Bill 145 did not create the current three-tiered system, which is now in use. Instead, Senate Bill 384 adds to the California Penal Code and sets up the structure and regulations for the Sex Offender Register.
Senate Bill 384 and California Sex Offenders:
California legislature enacted Senate Bill 384 in January of 2021 alongside SB 145. This new addition to the California Penal Code has created a three-tiered system that no longer requires all sex offenders to remain registered. Under this new system, convicted sex offenders who meet all eligibility requirements may petition for their removal from the state Sex Offender Registry.
Senate Bill 384-The Three-Tiered System:
Per the criteria set forth by California Penal Code Section 290, the new Three-Tiered System outlining registration with the sex offender registry is as follows:
Tier 1 of the sex offender registry is the classification used for convicted sex offenders of the lowest level offenses. The court has typically convicted these individuals of sexual battery or indecent exposure. In compliance with the regulations of this tier, the system requires offenders to maintain their updated registration with the California State Registry for at least ten years.
Tier 2 of the sex offender registry is the classification used to group mid-level sex offenders. These offenses include acts such as consensual sodomy with a child under the age of 14. An individual convicted of this level of a sex crime is required to remain on the sex offender registry for 20 years. However, if a juvenile court in California convicts the individual, they may only be required to register for ten years, depending on the details of their case.
Tier 3 of the sex offender registry is the classification used for offenders who commit the highest level of sex crimes.
- Examples of these offenses are acts such as rape and engaging in child sex trafficking. Offenders that the court convicts within this classification must register with the California Sex Offender Registry for life. Only one exception exists to this regulation. If an offender was convicted and classified within this tier, they might be eligible to petition for their removal from the registry. This exception only applies if the court based their classification on the risk they posed to society instead of the actual act(s) for which the court charged the individual.
Regardless of the tier the court classifies a sex offender within, no individual is eligible for removal from the registry until they complete their sentence. Once the individual serves their sentence and the court determines their eligibility, they may choose to petition the court to remove their name from the registry.
Does the addition of the three-tiered system remove the requirement to be registered with the Megan’s Law Website?
Yes and no. Under the addition of the Three-Tiered System, all sex offenders the California court convicts in are no longer required to register with the State Sex Offender Registry. However, this exemption is only applicable to offenders within Tier One. California law still requires offenders who fall within the Tier 2 or Tier 3 classifications to register with the Megan’s Law Website. Further, the law may require a Tier 1 offender to register depending on the level of risk the court determines they pose to the public.
Must California Sex Offenders notify neighbors of their conviction?
Convicted Sex Offenders in California are not required to notify their neighbors of their offense or their subsequent registry with the State Sex Offender Registry. However, because the California State Sex Offender Registry is public information, offenders’ neighbors have the right to look up their names and access the details of the offense using the Megan’s Law Website. To access the Megan’s Law Website, click here.
Is Megan’s Law the same as Jessica’s Law?
Though Megan’s Law and Jessica’s Law are used to regulate sex offenders in California, they are not the same. Passed in 1996, Megan’s Law is the piece of legislation requiring that the public receive notice of the presence of sex offenders in their area. Jessica’s law was passed in 2006 and is the piece of legislation that established “predator-free zones” in California. Under Jessica’s Law’s regulations, it is unlawful for registered sex offenders to be nearby schools, parks, or public areas where children typically gather. For more information on the specific regulations of Jessica’s Law, click here.
Contact Pride Legal
If you or a loved one has been accused or convicted of a sexual offense, we invite you to contact us at Pride Legal for legal counseling or any further questions. To protect your rights, hire someone who understands them.