Petition to Terminate Sex Offender Registration
A three-tiered registration system has replaced California’s lifetime sex offender registration requirement. As of Jan. 1, 2021, many sex offenders may be eligible to petition for relief from the registration requirement.
Three-Tier Registration System for Sex Offender Registration
California’s Penal Code section 290 requires people convicted of certain crimes to register as a sex offender. Required registrants must register with local law enforcement every year within five days of their birthday. When they change residences, they must re-register with their new address within five days of moving. Sex offender registration was originally designed to be a lifetimes requirement. Senate Bill (SB) 384 changed that, creating a three-tier registration system for sex offenders in California.
The California Department of Justice determines an offender’s tier level.
- There are three tiers establishing the minimums adult offenders must register: 10 years, 20 years, and life. There is a subcategory for tier three called Risk Assessment Level.
- There are two tiers establishing the minimums juvenile offenders must register: 5 years and 10 years.
The mandated minimum registration requirement begins on the date the person is released from incarceration, placement, or commitment. Any new convictions that require registration will extend the registration requirement. Your mandated time can also be extended if you fail to properly register.
Determining Sex Offender Tiers
Penal Code section 290.5(b)(3) describes the specific criteria used by CA DOJ to categorize each sex offender. Criteria include the registrable convictions (from California and outside jurisdictions), and risk assessment scores and levels. An individual may initially be uncategorized in particularly complicated situations. The DOJ has 24 months to place that person in a specific tier.
Examples of Crimes in each Sex Offender Tier
The three tiers reflect the seriousness of the offense:
- Tier One: Crimes include misdemeanor sexual battery and indecent exposure.
- Tier Two: Crimes include lewdness with a minor under 14 and unforced sodomy with a minor under 14.
- Tier Three: These crimes are the most serious and include rape, sex trafficking, and sex crimes against children younger than 10.
Eligibility to Remove Sex Offender Registration Requirement
Offenders classified as tier one or tier two may file a petition in superior or juvenile court in the county in which the person is registered. Level 3-Risk Assessment Level registrants can petition if they have been registered on the sex offender list for at least 20 years.
A registrant can petition for the termination of their sex offender registration requirement on or after their next birthday (after July 1, 2021) following the expiration of their mandated minimum registration. Terminating the registration requirement is not automatic once the minimum time has been met. Offenders must file a petition and continue to register until and if the court grants the request.
Anyone designed as a Tier Three – Lifetime offender is not eligible for termination.
California’s Megan’s Law Website
The CA DOJ operates the Megan’s Law website, where registered sex offenders are listed for public safety purposes. The information generally includes the offender’s name, a photo, identifying information like height and eye color), and their convicted offenses. Those convicted of more serious crimes will also be identified with their specific address. Offenders guilty of less-serious crimes are identified by zip code.
Sex Offender Registration in Other States
You may be required to register as a sex offender in another jurisdiction even if your requirement to register in California is terminated.
Retain Legal Counsel to Terminate Sex Offender Registration
If you are a registered sex offender with questions about the three-tier system and your potential eligibility, an experienced attorney at Maas and Russo can help. If you are eligible to petition, we will do more than file all the necessary paperwork in the appropriate jurisdictions. We will also thoroughly explain your case and why it is appropriate for the court to grant your registration termination.
If you think you may be eligible to petition, contact Maas and Russo to schedule a consultation. We can review your case and determine your eligibility. Call (800) 483-0992 today.