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New 2021 Sex Registration Law

3-Tiered Sex Registration under Penal Code §290

California's laws regarding the registration of sex offenders changed on January 2, 2021.  The law was modified in 2017 but did not take effect until this year.  Historically once ordered to register as a sex offender in California, there were very few ways to remove yourself from that requirement (a certificate of rehabilitation or a pardon from the governor was required).  Now, the system establishes three “tiers” for registration, requiring registering under Tier 1 for ten years, Tier 2 for twenty years, and Tier 3 (the most serious offenses) for life.

How do I know if I am eligible for removal from registration?

Although changes to the law allow for “less serious” offenses to be eligible for removal in ten or twenty years, I caution optimism where there are several nuances to the law that might keep some registrants on the list forever.  It should be noted the law does not require registration to end; it merely permits a registrant to request termination under certain circumstances and after the passage of a certain amount of time (dependent on the offense.)  These changes in the law do not apply automatically.

If I am currently required to register per 290, how do I know when I can petition for removal?

The charges of conviction determine your eligibility to petition for removed from registration.

Can I get my 290 PC registration terminated after ten years?

Tier One requires registration for “at least” ten years §290(d)(1.)  A person is in Tier 1 if they were required to register for a misdemeanor or a felony that is not listed in §667.5(c)  or in §1192.7 (c) (A felony that is neither serious nor violent. 

*This paragram does not apply to a person subject to registration under paragraph (2) or (3). 

What offenses are subject to removal after 20 years?

Tier 2 provides for potential removal after twenty years if the conviction:

  • Is a serious or violent felony (667.5 (c) or 1192.7 (c), or
  • 285(c) 286 (g) or (h), 287(g) or (h) or 289(b); or
  • 6 after having been previously convicted of the same offense.
  • *This paragraph does not apply if the person is subject to lifetime registration as required in (3).

 Which Offenses still require 290 registration for life?

Tier 3 is the longest, most complex paragraph in the new law.  Persons subject to this paragraph must register as a sex offender for life.  There are four main subsections:

  • If a person, after conviction of a registerable offense (in 667.5(c) or (d), was ordered to register per 290.006 (discretionary registration) and the current conviction is found in 667.5(c).
  • The person was committed as a sexually violent predator (Welfare & Institutions Code §6600)
  • The registrant violated any of the following:
  • 187 PC while attempting to commit certain sex crimes;
  • 207 or 209 PC with intent to violate certain sex crimes;
  • 220, 266h(b), 266j 267, 269, 288(b) or (c), 288.2, 288.3, 2.88.4, 288.5, 288.7, and 653f(c).
  • Any offense where the defendant is sentenced to a life term per 667.61;
  • The defendant's risk level on the static risk assessment instrument for sex offenders (SARATSO) per 290.04 is well above average risk at the time of release on the indexed sex offense into the community as defined in the Coding Rules for that instrument.

As you can see, the language is somewhat confusing, and even if a person may belong in Tier 1 or Tier 2, based on their original offense, the catch-all in Tier 3 with the SARATSO testing may prevent a person from ever getting off the list.

This long-awaiting change in California sex registration gives hope to persons trapped in the system, but a thorough evaluation by an attorney experienced in sex crimes is strongly recommended.

The changes described above dictate when, or if, a person may petition the court to be removed from the requirement of sex offender registration.  §290.5 describes the process for the petition.  Stay tuned for analysis of the newly-implemented procedure.

 Call today to discuss how and if you can petition for removal from the requirement of sex offender registration in California.  (760) 643-4025


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