It is agonizing to be a registered sex offender. Your employment prospects and movements within or out of state could be limited. Even worse is the stigmatization that accompanies being a registered sex offender. For example, if your neighbors find your photo on the California Megan's Law website, you will likely receive weird glances whenever you leave your house. The good news is that the law permits most registered sex offenders to petition to have their duty to register terminated. If the court terminates your requirement to register as an offender, you will not face the humiliation of being listed as a sex offender. You should consult a competent attorney if you are subject to public disclosure of the California Megan's Law website. At the Record Expungement Attorney, we have helped many clients to terminate their sex offender registration in San Diego. We would be glad to assist.
Terminating a Sex Offender Registration In California
Three legal options are available that you can have your obligation to register as an offender modified or terminated. They include:
Petitioning For The Termination of Your Sex Offender Registration Requirements Under The New Registration System In California
A new law outlines the period you must register as a sex offender under PC 290. You can find this new statute under the California Senate Bill 384, which took effect in January 2021. Typically, the new law forms a three-tiered system of sex offender registration as follows:
This is a requirement that you register as a sex offender for ten years. This tier applies only to the least severe sex offenses, including:
- Misdemeanor sexual battery — PC4.
- Misdemeanor lewd acts with a child above fourteen — PC 288(c).
- Crimes that require court-mandated sex offender registration according to PC006, like statutory rape (PC 261.5(c)), peeping Tom crimes (Code 647(i)), and soliciting prostitution (PC 647(b)(2)), among others.
- Misdemeanor possession of child pornography — PC11(a).
- Misdemeanor indecent exposure — PC1.
This is a requirement that you register as a sex offender for twenty years. This tier applies to more serious sex offenses than tier one-sex offenses. The crimes under this tier include:
- Incest — Penal Code 285.
- Sodomy of a minor who has not attained fourteen years of age with force or violence — Penal Code 286 crimes.
- Oral copulation on a minor who has not attained fourteen years of age without force or violence — Penal Code 287 crimes.
- Lewd & lascivious acts on a child below fourteen years — Penal Code 288(a).
This is a requirement that you register as a sex offender for life. This tier applies to the most severe and violent sex crimes, including:
- Sex trafficking of a child —Penal Code1 crimes.
- Aggravated rape — Penal Code 261 crimes.
- Sodomy by force or violence — Penal Code 286 crimes.
- Sexual penetration using force on a minor — Penal Code 289 crimes.
Tier one, two, and three crimes represent only a section of the many statutes subject to Penal Code 290 sex offender registration.
Senate Bill 384 and Juveniles
Senate Bill forms a Tier two system for juvenile sex offenders. The new statute requires ten years of sex offender registration for juveniles.
The other enumerates sex offenses requiring juveniles to register as sex offenders for five years.
According to SB 384, if the court charges you with a sex offense enumerated in a two-tiered system, you could petition the court to remove your requirement to register as an offender. You could petition to be removed from this duty twenty years from when you were sentenced or released from jail.
Senate Bill 384 also allows you to petition the court to remove your requirement to register as an offender if you are charged with a sex offense enumerated in tier one. You could petition to be removed from this duty ten years from when you were sentenced or released from jail.
PC 290 registration requirements do not end once you meet the minimum time requirement under SB 384. The new SB 384 statute requires that you petition for removal once the minimum registration time expires. You are not automatically removed from your registration obligation under the new rule. Instead, you must persuade the judge that you are eligible for this relief.
If you have a subsequent conviction in the registration period, the court could extend your sex offender registration. You will have an extension of one year to the registration period for a misdemeanor conviction. You will also have an extension of three years to the registration period for a felony conviction. Additionally, your registration could be halted during any incarceration period depending on a criminal charge after your sex offense charge. You will only continue with the registration if the incarceration period does not result in a new offense charge.
The Process of SB 384 Petition
While applying for the removal of the requirement of sex offender registration under SB 384, you need to do the following:
- Write the PC 385 petition, serve on time, and file it properly with requisite forms and declarations.
- Present the evidence of sex offender registration status from the police to the court and all interested parties.
- Submit SARATSO evaluation results to the court and all interested parties.
- Submit the evidence and argument at the hearing for the petition.
Petition For rehabilitation certificate — PC 4852 and a Pardon
California has enacted statutes that could help restore certain privileges and rights you lose after a criminal charge. The rules state that you have the right to seek rehabilitation for your criminal behavior or to petition for the expungement of your criminal record.
Expunging your criminal record alone cannot relieve you of your obligation to register as a sex offender under PC 290. However, a successful petition for a rehabilitation certificate and an expunged criminal record can relieve you of the duty to register. The courts do not grant a rehabilitation certificate for every sex offense charge.
You need to have your criminal conviction expunged before obtaining a rehabilitation certificate. Unfortunately, not all sex offenses can be expunged, including:
- Aggravated sexual assault of a child — PC 269.
- Sodomy by force — Penal Code 286.
- Oral copulation by force — PC 287.
- Lewd acts on a minor — PC 288.
- Continuous sexual abuse of a child — PC5.
Unlike the petition for relief under California's three-tiered registration, the petition for a rehabilitation certificate is less complicated. Currently, you are required to register as a sex offender for life under PC 290(c) if you are convicted of lewd and lascivious acts on a minor under the age of fourteen (a crime under PC 288(a)). According to the new three-tiered sex offender registration system, you must wait at least 20 years after your conviction before you can petition for the termination of your registration requirements.
On the other hand, you could have the registration requirements terminated after just ten years if you petition for a rehabilitation certificate and pardon. You could seek a rehabilitation certificate before the period listed under SB 384 expires.
The court will only consider your application for a rehabilitation certificate if you have lived in California for at least five years. However, the residency period is often longer for serious sex offenses, like continuous sexual abuse of a minor (PC 288.5(a)). Under California's three-tiered registration, you do not need a residency requirement
The court often grants all the rehabilitation certificate petitions, which are automatically submitted as applications for a gubernatorial pardon.
The Process Of PC 4852
The following is the process of petitioning for a rehabilitation certificate:
- Write the PC 4852 petition, serve on time, and file it properly with requisite forms and declarations.
- Present the evidence of sex offender registration status from the police to the court and all interested parties.
- Present the evidence of positive STATIC99 evaluation.
- Present the evidence of California residency to the court and all the interested parties. The minimum requirements for residency vary based on the specific sex crime charge.
- Submit evidence and argument at the hearing on a petition.
Under PC 4852, petitioning the court for relief lasts three months. You should seek the services of a criminal defense lawyer if you seek relief under PC 4852.
If you are charged with an offense, you can apply for a gubernatorial pardon. However, the California governor cannot grant you a pardon if you face criminal charges from another state or a federal proceeding.
A request for a pardon is only available for sex offenses that qualify for a rehabilitation certificate. If the governor grants you a pardon, you can terminate your requirement to register as an offender. However, it is harder to prevail on a pardon petition than on a rehabilitation certificate petition. If you have two or more felony charges in different cases, the California Supreme Court must recommend a clemency grant before the governor grants you a pardon application.
The Process Of Pardon
You need to obtain a rehabilitation certificate for a non-direct petition for pardon. You could obtain the certificate from the Superior Court in the county where you currently reside. Once you obtain the rehabilitation certificate, a pardon application will automatically be filed with the state secretary for the governor to consider.
You will be required to take the forms from the secretary of state to apply for a direct pardon. Unfortunately, the process of applying for a pardon is usually complex. It is, therefore, highly recommended that you consult a criminal defense attorney when applying for a pardon.
The Board of Parole Hearings has to investigate pardon applications for the governor's office. The governor's office will review your application before granting you a pardon. The governor's office would consider the following:
- Your need for a pardon.
- Your self-development and conduct since you committed the crime, including whether you have made use of available rehabilitation programs and have identified and addressed treatment needs.
- The age and circumstances of the crime and your age at that time.
- The impact of granting the pardon on your family and community, including whether the grant is consistent with public safety and in the interests of justice.
- The court will also consider any extraordinary circumstances which justify the restoration of firearm rights or a pardon in a sex offense case.
Your pardon application will be deemed closed if you submitted a direct application to a former governor and did not receive notice of a pardon grant. You need to submit a new application if you want the incumbent governor to consider your pardon application. You also need to submit a complete one-page Notice of Intent to Apply for Clemency to the district attorney in the county in which you are requesting a pardon.
The following are the benefits of a pardon:
- Restoration of the right to serve as a probation or parole officer, but you cannot serve as a police officer.
- Restoration of your right to serve and vote on a jury (PC17).
- Restoration of your right to possess or own firearms provided you face a non-dangerous and non-domestic violence conviction (PC17 and federal law).
- A relief from the requirement to register as an offender (PC5).
However, a pardon does not destroy or seal a criminal record. If the governor grants you a pardon, you could still have your criminal record used against you in the subsequent criminal proceedings.
Petition For Exclusion Or Name Removal From Sex Offender Website
There is an alternative way to have your sex offender status removed from the sex offender website of the Justice Department. However, this option does not terminate your requirement to register as an offender. If you succeed, your information could be excluded or removed from California's Megan's Law Website. You will need to meet the following requirements to be removed or excluded:
If you are required to register according to the Sex Offender Registration Act, you could apply for exclusion from the website. You could apply for exclusion if you show that your only registerable crime is either of the following:
- An offense for which you completed probation.
- Provided you present a certified copy of a probation report to the Depart of Justice (DOJ).
- Submit pre sentencing report.
- Submit the report prepared according to PC 1, or
- Other official court documents clearly show that you were the victim's grandparent, sibling, parent, or stepparent and that the offense did not involve oral penetration or copulation of the rectum or vagina of the victim by another person's penis or foreign object.
If you commit a criminal offense or a violation of probation during the application process under 290.46(d)(1)(B), your application for exclusion from the DOJ sex offender's website will be terminated. The new three-tiered sex offender registration statute also includes the law, which is intended to modify the PC 290.46 qualifications and applications slightly.
The Process Of PC 290.46
The following is the legal process you could take to petition the court for exclusion from sex offender websites:
- Write the PC46 petition, serve on time, and file it properly with requisite forms and declarations.
- Present the evidence of sex offender registration statutes from the police to the court and all interested parties.
- Present the evidence of a positive SARATSO evaluation.
- Present the evidence of the required familial relationship between you and the victim.
- Submit proof and argument at the hearing on the petition.
Often, this process could take you four months to complete. However, it is also advisable to seek the services of an experienced record expungement attorney.
Typically, STATIC 99 and the State Authorized Risk Assessment Tool for Sex Offenders (SARATSO) are evaluations of charged sex offenders. Trained psychologists are responsible for administering the evaluations. They do this to determine whether you are likely to repeat the sex crime. The psychologists often administer the evaluations, and the probation department offers them as part of a sentencing report in a sex offense lawsuit.
You do not get relief from the requirement of sex offender registration after a successful petition for removal from the sex offender website. Instead, a successful petition, according to 290.46, relieves you of your obligation to disclose your sex offender registration status on the sex offender website.
What PC 290 registration relief will not do:
- Expunge your case.
- Dismiss your case.
- Guarantee that after you move out of California, you will not have to register as a sex offender in the new state..
- Reduce your case to a misdemeanor.
- Take your case off your criminal record.
- Restore your right to possess or own a firearm.
Find a Record Expungement Attorney Near Me
We welcome you to contact the Record Expungement Attorney if you want more information about the termination of your sex offender registration or to discuss your case with a expungement attorney. You can rely on our legal counsel at our law offices in San Diego. Call us at 619-577-4081 to speak to one of our attorneys.