In Los Angeles, most people convicted of sex crimes are required to register as a sex offender. 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 legal charge for failing to register. This charge can trigger new jail or prison time and even count as a “third strike” under the Three Strikes law. If you are being charged with failing to register, do not attempt to deal with it on your own. You need the help of a qualified Los Angeles sex offense lawyer.
The Simmrin Law Group can help you. We have 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. Don’t lose years of your life because of a mistake or mixup—let us give you a FREE consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.
What are the registration requirements for convicted sex offenders in Los Angeles?
California has a state law known as “Megan’s Law” or Penal Code Section 290 which sets down the rules for the sex offender registry. This law contains a specific list of criminal offenses that require registry. Although not every sex offense is on the list, even many non-violent or seemingly minor offenses, like indecent exposure, are included. In general, most sex crimes do require registration.
The result is:
- 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
Registration requires several things:
- 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 this information 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
What happens if I fail to register as a sex offender in Los Angeles?
Failing to register is a separate criminal offense in California. In other words, you will be 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 misdemeanor (first failure) and potentially a felony (second or subsequent failure)
- If your sex offense was a felony, failure to register is usually 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 be prosecuted as if it just happened.
Is it true that I can be convicted multiple times for failing to register once?
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
What if I moved to Los Angeles 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 were convicted in a 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:
- The charge you were convicted under is not equivalent to any California crime with mandatory registration, or
- You were only visiting short-term (although if you maintain a residence in California, you are required to register)
What are the penalties if I fail to register as a sex offender?
The penalties include:
- Misdemeanor: Up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000
- Felony: 16 months, 2 years or 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
Is there any way to win against a “failure to register” charge?
Yes. Some of the defenses that can work include:
- You were never informed of your requirement to register
- If your notice of requiring to register was sent by mail, it was sent to the wrong address because of a mistake by the courts
- You have a cognitive disability that prevented 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 (if it was mailed)
- An emergency or other unforeseeable circumstance prevented you from registering by the date
These defenses can and do work—and they can potentially save you from years of extra incarceration.
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 give you a FREE consultation to answer your questions and help you get started. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.