Under Megan’s Law, the state of California is required to register persons convicted of sex crimes and is also required to disclose certain information about these offenders to the public. The addresses of registered sex offenders in California are released to the public. California law also requires disclosure of the addresses and places of employment of high-risk and serious sex offenders. This disclosure requirement includes making the names, addresses, photographs, crime committed and risk status available to the public at police stations and sheriff’s offices in California.
Megan’s Law applies specifically to sexually violent predators, or those offenders defined as having committed a sexually violent offense against two or more people and who are diagnosed with a mental disorder that may make them dangerous to other people. Megan’s Law requires disclosure of information about those convicted of pornography, incest, spousal rape, indecent exposure and misdemeanor sexual battery in California. Megan’s Law also requires that sex offenders notify their current registration authority about any pending change of address within 5 days of the change. The California Department of Justice posts specified information about serious and high-risk sex offenders on its Megan’s Law website.
If you or someone you know is currently required to register under Megan’s Law, you may be wondering what can be done to end the registration. After all, should a mistake made years or decades prior result in public registration and labeling for a lifetime?
California law allows certain offenders to end their registration requirement under certain circumstances. The process can be complex, however, and it is critical to have the aid of a California criminal defense attorney to guide you through and provide the best chance of meeting the requirements.
Megan’s Law FAQ’s
Who is Megan’s Law named after?
Megan’s Law is named after Megan Kanka who was sexually assaulted and killed by a neighbor who had 2 prior convictions for sex crimes in New Jersey. The New Jersey legislature enacted the law because people felt that if sex offenders had been required to register with local law enforcement agencies, the crime would not have happened.
What happens if a sex offender fails to register in California?
If a sex offender fails to register in California, they can be convicted of a felony or misdemeanor depending upon whether it is their first time failing to register. The penalty for failing to register also depends on the severity of the offense they were originally convicted of in California.
How long are sex offenders required to register in California?
Convicted sex offenders in California are required to register with local law enforcement agencies for their lifetime.
Do sex offenders have to update their registration in California?
Yes. Sex offenders must update their registration every year within 5 days of their birthday and within 5 working days of changing their address. Transients must update their information every 30 days and sexually violent predators must update their information every 90 days.
How can I get out of having to register if I am a sex offender?
An adult sex offender can petition the court for a Certificate of Rehabilitation so that they are not required to register as a sex offender in California. Also, an adult sex offender can seek to get a full Governor’s Pardon so that they are not required to register in California.
What convictions can eventually lead to the ending of registration?
California law allows a convicted offender to be removed from the registration website if they were convicted of sexual battery by restraint (Penal Code 243.4(a) or annoying or molesting a child (Penal Code 647.6). In addition, you may be able to end the registration requirement if you were convicted of any other offense that did not include penetration or oral copulation, the victim was a relative, and you successfully completed probation.
What is the process of ending the Megan’s Law registration in California?
The California Department of Justice accepts Megan’s Law exclusion forms from those offenders who were convicted of charges that qualify for removal. Upon receipt of the form, the Department will then scrutinize the application to ensure you meet the exact requirements. The entire process can take anywhere from a month to much longer, depending on the specifics of your situation.
What happens if I Receive an Expungement?
An expungement does not mean that your information will automatically be removed from the Megan’s Law public website. It is still necessary to go through the separate removal process.
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