Sex Offender Registration Tiers

A person who has been convicted of a sex offense and has served their time in jail or state prison will still face additional punishment after their release: they must register as a sex offender with the California Department of Justice. California has implemented a three-tiered sex offender registration system which categorizes offenders into different tiers based on the severity of the offense. Penal Code section 290 delineates which tier corresponds with which crime, but is very complicated and difficult to navigate. Below is a condensed version of the different tiers of the sex offender registration process.

Tier I: Lowest Risk Offenders

Tier I includes individuals convicted of offenses that are generally considered to pose the lowest risk to public safety. These offenses may include misdemeanors or nonviolent offenses, such as indecent exposure, consensual underage sexual activity, or misdemeanor possession of child pornography. Tier I offenders are subject to a mandatory registration period of at least 10 years, and must update their address with the Department of Justice once a year.

Tier II: Moderate Risk Offenders

Tier II encompasses individuals convicted of offenses that are generally considered to pose a moderate risk to public safety. These offenses generally involve nonviolent sexual crimes committed against minors or certain violent sexual offenses committed against adults. Examples include sexual battery, lewd acts with a minor, or non-forcible rape. Tier II offenders must register for at least 20 years and must report their current address every six months to the Department of Justice.

Tier III: Highest Risk Offenders

Tier III includes individuals convicted of the most serious sexual offenses, often involving violent sex crimes or crimes against children. These offenses include rape, aggravated sexual assault, child molestation, or repeated offenses of a sexual nature. Tier III offenders must register for the rest of their lives. They also must report their address to the Department of Justice every 90 days and provide law enforcement with a current photograph of themselves.

Once a Person is on the Sex Offender Registry, Can they Ever be Removed?

Appearing on the sex offender registry can be shameful and embarrassing circumstance that people who have already served their time must endure. However, after individuals have completed their mandatory registration period following their release from custody, Tier I and Tier II offenders may file a petition for termination from the sex offender registry. For example, a person who was convicted of a Tier I offense and was released from custody in 2020 may file a petition for termination in 2030. Likewise, a person who was convicted of a Tier II offense and was released from custody in 2020 may file a petition for termination in 2040. Tier III registrants may only petition the court for termination in extremely limited circumstances.

If you are charged with a sex offense, it is absolutely critical that you discuss your case with an aggressive criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Michael Kraut has defended many clients who have been charged with sex crimes. Mr. Kraut has successfully argued for felony sex crimes to be reduced to misdemeanor sex crimes, which would prevent a client from having to register for an additional 10 years.

For more information about the potential consequences of a conviction of a sex offense, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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