California law requires individuals convicted of certain sex crimes to join the state sex offender registry and keep their entry up to date. Examples of charges that require an individual to register as a sex offender include:
- California Penal Code Section 261: Rape
- California Penal Code Section 243.4: Sexual Battery
- California Penal Code Section 314: Indecent Exposure
If convicted of any of these crimes in California, an offender must ensure the state knows where they are and how to contact them at all times. Inclusion on the registry is a penalty for these crimes.
Individuals who fail to follow this guideline can face prosecution under California Penal Code Section 290: Failure to Register as a Sex Offender. Find out more about this law and the serious legal repercussions associated with a PC 290 violation in this article from Simmrin Law Group.
The Legal Definition of Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
Not all sex crime convictions require individuals to register as sex offenders. Generally, only the most serious convictions call for this type of entry. In fact, individuals do not have to join the sex offender registry after many types of convictions, including:
However, individuals whose sentence requires them to register must take this law very seriously. Generally, individuals who must register as sex offenders must renew their registration:
- Every five years
- Every time they move
Individuals may face charges related to failure to register as a sex offender if they never register to begin with or if they fail to properly renew their registration. An individual must reside in California and be aware that they need to register as a sex offender to be convicted under PC 290.
California law takes entries on the sex offender registry seriously. If your previous conviction includes registering for this list, we encourage you to do so. Facing additional penalties, including jail time and fines for failing to update your entry or provide your address, is not worth it.
However, if you missed the deadline or there is another issue, we are here to help you. We can argue against these charges and challenge the allegations you face. Everyone makes mistakes. We can help you move forward with your life.
Examples of PC 290 Violations
Some people are unclear about when and how they need to update their registry entry. The following examples demonstrate ways that people can fail to register as sex offenders in California:
Person A faced a conviction for sexual battery. They finish their period of incarceration and decide not to register as a sex offender. Person A believes they did their time and should not have to tell the state where they live. They could face conviction under PC 290.
Person B faced an indecent exposure conviction several years ago. The person registered as a sex offender. Three years later, Person B moved and failed to update their registration. The court could convict Person B of failure to register as a sex offender because they did not keep their address current.
In these cases, both people might face the same penalties under PC 290 despite their stories and offenses differing significantly.
Possible Repercussions for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
Individuals who fail to register as sex offenders may face misdemeanor or felony charges. Because they differ widely in severity, the possible consequences are significantly different, as well. These charges can carry the following penalties if convicted:
Misdemeanor Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
Individuals convicted of misdemeanor failure to register as a sex offender can face:
- Fines: Up to $1,000
- Jail Time: Up to one year
Generally, individuals face misdemeanor charges if the sex crime they initially committed was a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor charges are less serious offenses than felony charges.
Felony Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
Felony charges under PC 290 can lead to:
- Fines: Up to $10,000
- Prison Time: Up to three years
The court system in Los Angeles will usually charge individuals with felony failure to register as a sex offender if their initial sex crime was a felony. Because their initial crime was more serious, lawmakers believe it is more important that they are on the registry and that law enforcement knows where they live at all times.
There Are Defenses for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender Accusations
Individuals do not have to accept charges under PC 290. In fact, criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles use several defenses to help their clients fight these accusations and pursue a positive outcome. A professional lawyer with our firm may be able to build a case by showing:
You Did Not Know You Needed to Register as a Sex Offender
Legally, individuals should not face a conviction of failure to register as a sex offender if they did not know the requirement existed. Sometimes, individuals may not know they need to register after their initial conviction because:
- Their attorney or the court did not inform them of this requirement
- Registration information went to the wrong address
- They have a disability that prevented them from understanding
A lawyer can look into your case to see if any of these situations apply to you. There may be other explanations that apply to your case that are not common enough to make our list. Our attorney can consider your side of the story as a part of the defense strategy in your case.
You Actually Did Register as a Sex Offender
Sometimes, the court system fails to properly process sex offender registrations. If you have proof that you took steps to register as a sex offender, you may be able to beat a PC 290 charge. We can help you gather evidence and develop an argument based on this defense.
Because this does happen, it is a good idea to document your attempt to register or update your entry by screenshotting, recording dates and times, and taking other steps to create a backup record in case of an electronics issue.
A Situation Beyond Your Control Prevented You From Registering
Some people try to register as sex offenders but cannot due to an emergency or health concern. If uncontrollable circumstances prevented you from completing your registration in time, you may be able to avoid a conviction. You will need documentation of what happened, when, and why it prevented your registration. This may seem like an excuse, but it does happen, and the courts forgive it.
For example, imagine you were in a traffic accident shortly after your release from jail. You suffered a concussion that prevented you from working or using a computer for several weeks. The court may pardon you as long as you complete your registration as soon as possible.
Get Professional Help Handling Charges for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
Individuals who reach out to a criminal defense lawyer for help have better odds of beating the charges under California Penal Code Section 290: Failure to Register as a Sex Offender. Get the help you need by contacting the Simmrin Law Group today. Call or complete our online contact form to reach us now.
We offer our clients a FREE initial case evaluation if they stand accused of failure to register as a sex offender.