One simple mistake can seemingly lead to years of complications for those who land on California’s sex offender registry. Megan’s Law places restrictions on where registered sex offenders may live, work and who they can associate with.

However, as of January 1, 2021, California has enacted new guidelines on when sex offenders may petition for their removal from the registry:

  • Tier One sex offenders may be eligible to be removed from the state sex offender registry after 10 years. 
  • Tier Two sex offenders may be removed after 20 years. 
  • Tier Three offenders are still subject to lifetime registration requirements.

These new guidelines came into place as a result of Senate Bill 384. Registered sex offenders now can ask for removal from the sex offender registry once they’ve completed their minimum registration period. 

Prior to SB 384, all sex offenders were required to register for life.

Can a sex offender be removed from the registry in California?

Yes, in some cases a sex offender may be able to have their name removed from the California sex offender registry. This is typically only possible if the offender has completed their prison sentence and fulfilled all other requirements of their probation, and if they can demonstrate that they are not a threat to public safety.

Additionally, it is important to note that even if an offender’s name is removed from the registry, they may still be required to register as a sex offender in other states.

How can I petition for removal from the California sex offender registry?

Once you’ve served the minimum registration period as determined by the tier of your defense, you may petition for removal from the California sex offender registry. This is done by making a formal petition to the court, which your attorney can help with.

How can I get my name removed from the California sex offender registry website?

Even if you haven’t completed your minimum registration period, it may also be possible to have your name removed from the California sex offender registry website. This is done by submitting a Megan’s Law Exclusion Form to the California Department of Justice.

 A person can ask for removal from the sex offender registry website if they were convicted of:

  • Sexual battery by restraint (PC 243.4a), or
  • Annoying or molesting a child (PC 647.6)

They can also be removed from the sex offender registry website if they have obtained:

Lastly, a convicted sex offender can also ask for removal in the case of:

  • They committed an offense that did not involve penetration or oral copulation,
  • The victim was the accused’s child, stepchild, grandchild or sibling, and
  • They have successfully completed the probation on the offense.

Note that even if a person meets the above criteria, their request for exclusion will be denied if they are deemed a “sexually violent predator.”

It’s also important to note here that it’s a misdemeanor crime for sex offenders to access the Megan’s Law website in any way. This is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and $1,000 in fines.

What is Megan’s Law?

Megan’s Laws are named after 7-year-old Megan Kanka of Hamilton Township, New Jersey. In 1994, she was invited by her neighbor, Jesse Timmendequas, to see his puppy in his home. Jesse had two previous convictions for sexually assaulting young girls and had just been released. Jesse Timmendequas sexually assaulted the 7- year old girl, killed her and dumped her body in a park nearby. This tragedy sparked an outrage from the public. Megan’s parents gathered over 430,000 signatures to petition the state of New Jersey for more active public notification of sex offenders. It only took 89 days after the murder of Megan Kanka for the state of New Jersey to enact Megan’s Law. From that point, Megan’s law in New Jersey set the stage for the federal legislation, which was signed by President Clinton on May 17, 1996 as an amendment to the Jacob Wetterling Act. The the Jacob Wetterling Act of 1994 had already required states to register those who had committed sex crimes against children. It wasn’t until Megan’s Law that states were encouraged to disclose personal information about registered sex offenders to the public.

Megan’s Law in California

Megan’s Law is covered under the California penal code 290.46 and states that California law enforcement must notify the public about specific sex offenders that may be considered a threat to public safety. This information can be obtained on the Office of Attorney General website. Searches can be done by name or by area code on the California Sex and Arson Registry. The website includes names, known aliases, address, height, weight, date of birth and photos of the registered offender. It also contains a description of their offense and the year of last conviction. The map will also show if the registered offender is in currently in violation of any court orders including registering.

Can a Tier 3 sex offender get off of the registry in California?

Yes, in some cases a Tier 3 sex offender may be able to have their name removed from the California sex offender registry. This is typically only possible if the offender has completed their prison sentence and fulfilled all other requirements of their probation, and if they can demonstrate that they are not a threat to public safety.

Additionally, it is important to note that even if an offender’s name is removed from the registry, they may still be required to register as a sex offender in other states.

Speak with an attorney to discuss your options

Navigating the California sex offender registry can be complicated, and the system is intentionally designed to be obtuse. Working with a skilled sex crimes attorney can shorten the amount of time needed for removal and save you the administrative headaches as you work to reclaim your identity.

If you are interested in petitioning the state for removal from the California sex offender registry, we invite you to call our office. Robert M. Helfend is a specialist in sex crimes cases, with over 30 years experience representing cases like yours. Call today – 800-834-6434.