California's Three-Tier Sex Offender Registration System
Many people convicted of certain sex crimes will be required to register as a sex offender under California Penal Code 290 PC, meaning registration at their local police station annually within five days of their birthday and within five days of moving.
In some cases, there are residency restrictions. Further, convictions for certain serious sexual-related crimes will require registering as a sex offender for the rest of your life.
In January 2021, California Senate Bill 384 replaced the old registry with a new three-tier sex offender registry system that categorizes offenders on the severity of their crime. It also has provisions for lower-tier offenders to apply to have their information removed from the sex registry.
This allowance is because the registration requirement for certain low-risk offenders should not last a lifetime. Under this new system, some crimes require a 10-year registration, some for 20 years, and some for lifetime registration.
California divides its sex offenders into Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3, each with a different registration period. For example, Tier 1 must register for ten years, Tier 2 must register for 20 years, and Tier 3 must continue registering as sex offenders for life.
Under California Penal Code 290 PC, sex offenders who are convicted of a crime requiring registration must submit their name, address, physical description, and criminal history with their local law enforcement within five business days of being released from jail or prison, within five days of being convicted if not sentenced to jail, and within five days of moving a new location.
Registered offenders must also renew their registration within five days of their birthday. If they don't have a permanent residence, they must re-register every 30 days as a transient offender. Let's review further below.
What Are Tier 1 Sex Offenders?
Tier 1 sex offenders in California are deemed low-risk and the least likely to re-offend, but they must keep their registration current for at least ten years. Tier 1 offenses are typically misdemeanors and include the following crimes:
- Penal Code 243.4 PC - sexual battery;
- Penal Code 314 PC - indecent exposure;
- Penal Code 311.1 PC - child pornography (misdemeanor);
- Penal Code 287 PC – oral copulation with a minor (misdemeanor);
- Penal Code 266c PC – unlawful sexual intercourse;
- Penal Code 286 PC - sodomy without force;
- Penal Code 288.4 PC – arrange a meeting with a minor (misdemeanor);
- Penal Code 289 PC – foreign object (misdemeanor);
- Penal Code 647.6 PC – child molestation (first offense).
What Are Tier 2 Sex Offenders?
Tier 2 sex offenders are deemed moderate-risk and must keep their registration current for at least 20 years, and includes the following crimes:
- Penal Code 287 PC - oral copulation with a minor under 14 or with a victim who is unable to give consent;
- Penal Code 286 PC - sodomy with a minor under 14 or with a victim who is unable to give consent;
- Penal Code 261 PC – rape when victim unable to give consent;
- Penal Code 288.3 PC – contact a minor to commit a felony crime;
- Penal Code 289 PC – foreign object when victim unable to consent;
- Penal Code 647.6 PC – child molestation (second offense).
What are Tier 3 Sex Offenders?
Tier 3 sex offenders are deemed high-risk and must maintain their registration for life, and it includes the most severe sex crimes, such as the following:
- Penal Code 311.1 PC - child pornography (felony);
- Penal Code 236.1 PC – child sex trafficking;
- Penal Code 287 PC - oral copulation by force or in concert;
- Penal Code 261 PC - rape;
- Penal Code 264.1 PC – gang rape in concert;
- Penal Code 209 PC – kidnapping for a sexual act;
- Penal Code 220 PC – assault with intent to commit a felony;
- Penal Code 243.4 PC – sexual battery (felony);
- Penal Code 266h/266i PC – pimping and pandering a minor;
- Penal Code 266j PC – transport minor for lewd purposes;
- Penal Code 267 PC – abduct a minor for prostitution;
- Penal Code 269 PC – aggravated sexual assault of a child;
- Penal Code 286 PC – sodomy by force or in concert;
- Penal Code 288 PC – lewd acts by force or with a minor under 14;
- Penal Code 288.2 PC – sending harmful matter to seduce minor;
- Penal Code 288.3 PC – contact a minor to commit a felony;
- Penal Code 288.4 PC – arrange a meeting with a minor (felony);
- Penal Code 288.5 PC - continuous sexual abuse of a child;
- Penal Code 288.7 PC – sex with a child under 10;
- Penal Code 289 PC – foreign object penetration by force;
- Penal Code 653f PC – solicit somebody to commit a sex crime;
- Penal Code 667.71 PC – habitual sex offender;
- Penal Code 667.61 PC – sentenced to 25 years to life;
- Penal Code 290.4 PC – above average risk sex offender.
Can You Get Removed from the California Sex Offender Registry?
Possibly. Under California Senate Bill 384, Tier 1 and Tier 2 offenders can petition the court to remove their information from the Sex Offender Registry after their expired registration period.
You must complete and submit Form CR-415, a petition to terminate sex offender registration under Penal Code 290.5 PC. You should first consult with a criminal defense lawyer for guidance. If your petition is approved, your information will be removed from the registry, and you will no longer be required to keep your registration current.
Megan's Law was passed in 1996, requiring the Justice Department to establish a searchable Internet database for public view of sex offender registrations.
This information was designed to protect families from offenders at higher risk. After the passage of SB 384, changes were made to Megan's Law, which now allows certain offenders to request exclusion from the website using the appropriate form.
Who is Eligible to Be Excluded from the Megan's Law Website?
Registered sex offenders might be eligible to be excluded from the Megan's Law website if they satisfy the following conditions:
- The crime did not include oral copulation or penetration;
- The victim in your crime was a relative;
- Successful completion of probation;
- Conviction was for PC 243.4a sexual battery by restraint;
- Conviction was for PC 647.6 molesting or annoying a child;
- Have a Certificate of Rehabilitation or an expungement.
If you are considered a sexually violent predator, your petition to be excluded from the Megan's Law website could still be denied even if you meet the above conditions.
Further, if you violated probation by failing to register or are currently incarcerated, you are not eligible to be excluded from the sex registry.
Registering as a sex offender has a significant impact on daily life. Contact our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers for a free case evaluation. Cron, Israels & Stark is located in Los Angeles, CA.