In Los Angeles, people convicted of sex crimes are required to register as sex offenders. The state also requires you to keep your registration up to date. If you fail to do this, even if it was an accident, you may end up facing a new criminal charge, which can trigger new jail or prison time and even count as a “third strike” under the Three Strikes law.
Our L.A. failure to register as sex offender defense lawyers can help you. Simmrin Law Group is a team of experienced, highly respected attorneys who understand the sex offender registry and how to defend your case. We may be able to get the case dropped, get you probation instead of jail, or even win your case outright.
Registration Requirements for Convicted Sex Offenders in Los Angeles
California has a state law known as “Megan’s Law” under the California Penal Code (CPC) § 290 which sets down the rules for the sex offender registry. This law contains a specific list of criminal offenses that require registration.
Although not every sex offense is on the list, many non-violent or seemingly minor offenses, like indecent exposure, are included. In general, most sex crimes do require registration. If convicted of a sex crime:
- You must register if you were convicted of almost any California sex crime.
- You must register if you were convicted of an equivalent crime in another state.
- You must go to local authorities in your city or county and formally register. In Los Angeles, this means you register with a REACT officer at your local community LAPD station.
- You must provide your address, contact info, and a wide variety of other personal information.
- Some of the information you provide will be made public, including your name, photograph, the crime you committed, and your risk status.
- You must update this information annually and or any time you move/your information changes.
As you can see, the entire sex offender registration process can be extremely time-consuming and a big hassle to deal with. Unfortunately, the law has zero tolerance for missing deadlines or dodging the registry, whether intentional or not.
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What Happens if I Fail to Register as a Sex Offender in Los Angeles?
Failing to register is a separate criminal offense in Los Angeles. In other words, you will get charged with a new crime. The type of crime will depend on your original conviction:
- If your sex offense was a misdemeanor, failure to register is usually a misdemeanor the first time and a felony for subsequent violations.
- If your sex offense was a felony, failure to register is almost always going to be a felony.
Unlike other crimes, there is no statute of limitations for failing to register. This is because the requirement to register is an “ongoing” requirement. So, if you failed to register years ago, technically, you are still breaking the law by not being registered today, and you can get prosecuted as if it just happened.
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Can I Get Convicted Multiple Times for Failing to Register?
Yes. You can be charged and prosecuted separately for each specific type of failure. For example, let’s say that you forgot to do your annual registration one year, and you also moved in that year. Technically you failed at two different registration requirements, and you can face two separate crimes for doing so.
This can also affect your sentencing:
- If the two charges come from the same incident, you can be convicted twice but only face one sentence.
- If the charges are from two separate instances, you can face a sentence for each one.
Each case is different. These examples are just general guidelines. For further and specific information regarding your unique case, you should get in touch with the Los Angeles failure to register as a sex offender defense lawyers at Simmrin Law Group as soon as possible.
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What if I Moved In From Another State?
Unfortunately, this is not a defense in California. State law requires that you learn and abide by the law upon moving to California, even if it is different from your previous state.
So, even if you did get convicted in another state that doesn’t require registration, you must register as soon as you move here. This applies to any conviction that has a California equivalent that requires registering.
There are arguments you can make against this, however:
- Your convicted charges don’t have any equivalent crime with mandatory registration in California.
- You were only visiting short-term, although if you maintain a residence in California, you must register.
In short, moving to California for sex crimes in another state doesn’t mean you’re allowed to dodge the registry in the state. No matter what, you have to register if you plan on living in California.
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What Are the Penalties if I Fail to Register as a Sex Offender?
Penalties for failure to register as a sex offender vary by type of charge:
- For misdemeanor charges, you face up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
- For felony charges, you face up to 16 months, two years, or three years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
There are additional penalties you should also be aware of that are outside the scope of the law. While legal penalties are harsh, the punishments you face even after serving your time can be severe. A failure to register as sex offender defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help to reduce or eliminate those penalties.
What if My Time on the Registry Is Up?
There are instances where you no longer have to register for the California sex offender registry if your time on the registry is up. However, this is not true for all sexual crimes. Here is a general guideline.
The amount of time you need to spend on the sex is based on three tiers:
- Tier One sex offenses such as indecent exposure, annoying a child, or other misdemeanor convictions require ten years on the registry.
- Tier Two sex offenses such as incest, oral copulation, lewd acts, or sex with individuals unable to consent require 20 years on the registry.
- Tier Three sex offenses such as rape, pimping a minor, sexual abuse of a child, felony child pornography charges, and other egregious sexual crimes will require a lifetime registry.
If you were convicted of tier one or tier two sexual crimes, you don’t have to register for the sex offender registry after meeting the required years. However, keep in mind, failure to register before the years required get met can extend the amount of time you’ll need to be on the registry. Therefore, it’s best to have concrete proof that you’ve already served your time.
Is There Any Way to Win Against a Failure to Register Charge?
Winning against a failure to register charge in Los Angeles is difficult, but not impossible. Speak with a sex crimes lawyer in Los Angeles to begin planning your defense. Some of the defenses that can work include:
- You were never informed of your requirement to register
- If your notice of requirement to register was sent by mail, it got sent to the wrong address because of a mistake by the courts
- You have a cognitive disability that prevents you from understanding the requirement
- You have evidence that you registered, and it wasn’t processed correctly because of an error by the LAPD, the court clerk, or the post office
- An emergency or other unforeseeable circumstance prevented you from registering by the date
In our experience, these defenses have the highest amount of success, and they can potentially save you from years of extra incarceration or further punishment.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer to Help Me?
The Los Angeles failure to register as sex offender defense attorneys at the Simmrin Law Group have years of experience and will dedicate themselves to your defense. Criminal defense law is extremely complex. If you don’t have any prior legal experience whatsoever, defending yourself against the prosecution can put you at a considerable disadvantage.
Additionally, you shouldn’t try to resolve things quickly with a fast plea bargain or deal. Prosecutors aren’t on your side, and you shouldn’t expect them to try and help you in any way. Before you agree to or sign any sort of deal, you should always consult with one of our lawyers first to ensure you’re getting treated fairly.
Talk to a Los Angeles Failure to Register Lawyer for Free
Don’t risk extra penalties from a failure to register charge. The Simmrin Law Group can help you. We will take your side, be your advocate in the court system and help you fight your charge. Let us give you a free consultation to answer your questions and help you get started.
Don’t hesitate to contact us and schedule an appointment with a failure to register as sex offender defense attorney in Los Angeles as soon as possible.