California Penal Code Section 290 PC: Failure To Register As A Sex Offender

sex crime1. Definition and Elements of the Crime

The California legislature has recognized the need to keep track of defendants convicted of sex crimes, even after their sentences have been fully served. Under California Penal Code Section 290 PC, those convicted of sex crimes and certain other offenses are required to register as a sex offender with local authorities. This registration must be renewed every five years or any time the person moves to a new residence. Failure to register as a sex offender is itself a criminal offense that can result in lengthy prison sentences.

To prove that a person failed to register as a sex offender, the prosecutor must be able to establish the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The defendant was previously convicted of one of the sex crimes listed in California Penal Code Section 290 PC
  2. The defendant resided in California
  3. The defendant actually knew he or she had a duty to register as a sex offender
  4. AND the defendant willfully failed to register as a sex offender or annually update his or her registration.

The following offenses may include a registration requirement under California Penal Code Section 290 PC:

  1. RapeCalifornia Penal Code Section 261 PC
  2. Sexual BatteryCalifornia Penal Code Section 243.4 PC
  3. Contributing to the delinquency of a minorCalifornia Penal Code Section 272 PC
  4. Indecent Exposure – California Penal Code Section 314 PC
  5. Other offenses where a judge specifically ordered registration due to the sexual nature of the particular crime (i.e. sex offender registration may be ordered in a kidnapping conviction under California Penal Code Section 207 PC if the crime was committed for sexual gratification or compulsion)
2. Examples

A man is convicted of sexual battery pursuant to California Penal Code Section 243.4 PC and is sentenced to three years in prison. At sentencing, he is ordered by the judge to register for life as a sex offender. The man is released from prison and moves back to Los Angeles, where he registers and serves out the remainder of his parole. Once his parole expires, the man moves to Arizona without alerting authorities in California or Arizona. The man could not be prosecuted for failing to register as a sex offender in California, however he may be subject to prosecution in his new state.

In another example, a man is lawfully ordered to register as a sex offender following a conviction for rape under California Penal Code Section 261 PC. He moves to a residence in Los Angeles County and registers as a sex offender. After two years, the man moves to Orange County and does not alert either Los Angeles or Orange of the new address, because he has continuously received death threats due to his registration and wants to live anonymously. Even though he has committed two violations of California Penal Code Section 290 PC, the man could only be prosecuted and punished for one offense. The fact that the man may have received death threats would not excuse his duty to register as a sex offender.

3. Related Offenses

Related offenses include any of the underlying crimes that can trigger a registration requirement, such as:

  1. RapeCalifornia Penal Code Section 261 PC
  2. Sexual BatteryCalifornia Penal Code Section 243.4 PC
  3. Contributing to the delinquency of a minorCalifornia Penal Code Section 272 PC
  • 4. Defenses to Failure to Register as a Sex Offender

If someone did not have sufficient knowledge of their registration requirement, he or she cannot be convicted for subsequently failing to register as a sex offender. While most courts are very clear and explicit when advising defendants of their registration requirements, there may be situations in which this advisement was not properly made or other factors exist (such as language differences) that deprived the defendant of due notice. In these situations, a careful examination of the court record may be required to show a defendant was not properly informed of his requirement to register as a sex offender. It is important to remember that simply forgetting to register is not a defense.

5. Penalties

Failure to register as a sex offender can be a misdemeanor (if the underlying sex crime was a misdemeanor) or a felony (if the underlying sex crime was a felony or the defendant has a prior failure to register conviction). If convicted of a felony, the defendant could be sentenced to up to three years in prison.

6. Criminal Defense for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender Cases

If you have been charged with failure to register as a sex offender, it is very important that you speak with an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney right away. There may be extenuating circumstances that an effective criminal defense attorney can present to police or prosecutors to prevent or diminish charges. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who is adept at handling cases of this nature. Mr. Kraut is highly respected throughout the court system as a knowledgeable advocate who works hard to provide his clients the best defense possible.

For more information about failure to register as a sex offender, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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