If you’ve been convicted of a sex crime in California, you likely have a duty to keep an active registration on the California sex offender registry.

State law requires sex offenders to register with the local police:

  1. Every year, within five working days of their birthdays.
  2. Any time they move to a new address.

Failure to do this is a violation of California Penal Code 290 PC, “Failure to register as a sex offender.” The penalties for failure to register will depend on the circumstances of the original crime, with sentences ranging as high as three years for felons.

If you or someone you love has been charged with failure to register as a sex offender, a skilled criminal defense attorney can help you fight your charges or have them reduced.

Definition of ‘Failure to register as a sex offender’

California’s sex offender registry is divided into three tiers, which also determine how long you have to register:

  • Tier 1: Offenders must register for a minimum of 10 years
  • Tier 2: Offenders must register for a minimum of 20 years
  • Tier 3: Offenders are required to register for the remainder of their lives

In order to convict you of “Failure to register as a sex offender,” a prosecutor will have to prove that certain facts of the case were true. These are often referred to as the “elements of the crime.”

Failure to register has four elements:

  1. You were previously convicted of a sex crime that required you to register as a sex offender.
  2. You lived in California.
  3. You knew you had a duty to register as a sex offender.
  4. You willfully failed to register or update your registration.

In other words, the prosecutor has to prove that you were informed of your duty to re-register and that you intentionally didn’t. For example, if you were hospitalized with an illness and were unable to re-register or if your registration was lost by authorities, you are not guilty of failure to register.

Penalties for ‘Failure to register as a sex offender’

The penalties for “Failure to register as a sex offender” depend on the severity of the original crime. If you were originally convicted for a misdemeanor sex crime, your penalty here would be a misdemeanor. The same is true for felonies.

As a misdemeanor, a violation of PC 290 is punishable by:

  • Informal misdemeanor probation (also known as summary probation)
  • Up to a year in county jail
  • Up to $1,000 in fines

As a felony, punishments can include:

  • Formal felony probation
  • Up to three years in state prison
  • Up to $10,000 in fines

Defenses against ‘Failure to register’ charges

“Robert really came to my rescue! I found myself under false accusations and he really came through. I was really freaking out, and Robert was able to make me feel like I was in good hands. I can’t recommend his services enough.”Drew, CA

As we mentioned above, if you have been charged with “Failure to register as a sex offender,” the prosecutor must prove that you willfully chose not to re-register.

A skilled criminal defense attorney can examine the facts of your case and work to get you the best possible outcome. Life can be unpredictable, and it can lead to situations where deadlines get missed.

Robert M. Helfend has practiced criminal defense in the Los Angeles area since 1984, and he is in expert in sex crimes cases. Call today for your free case evaluation — 800-834-6434.