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Crimes involving sex are numerous and carry serious penalties and consequences. Most convictions require lifetime registration as a sex offender pursuant to California Penal Code section 290. Failure to register under this section can result in a probation violation as well as a new criminal charge for failure to register. Being falsely accused of a sex crime can have a devastating effect on a person's life and reputation. For this precise reason, sex crimes cases often involve complicating factors, such as a motive to fabricate testimony or falsely accuse someone to gain an upper hand on family issues like divorce squabbles or child custody battles. The following offenses fall under the classification of sex crimes:
- Lewd Conduct - Engaging in Lewd Conduct
- Lewd Conduct - Solicitation for Lewd Conduct
- Penal Code 288 Lewd Acts with a Child
- Communication with minor with intent to commit act
- Penal Code 311: Possession of Child Pornography
- Prostitution - Engaging in Prostitution
- Prostitution - Solicitation of Prostitution
- Sex Registration (Failure to Register)
REGISTRATION AS SEX OFFENDER
California Penal Code 290(b) requires those who have been declared California sex offenders to register their identifying information with their local law enforcement agency as long as they live, work, or attend school in California. In addition to the crimes specifically listed in California Penal Code 290(c), a judge may order you to register as a sex offender for any offense that he/she believes you committed as a result of "sexual compulsion or for sexual gratification" The problem with the sex offender registration requirement is that prosecutors want registration on offenses that tangentially involve some sort of sex related element. Our position is that to require registration for every potentially sex-related offense undermines the important purpose of sex registration. The general public is unable to identify real threats from benign if everyone is forced to register. Clearly someone convicted for a violent rape is going to be a greater concern than someone who turned 18 before his or her respective girlfriend/boyfriend and was convicted for statutory rape.
FAILURE TO REGISTER
In order to prosecute a person for failure to register under California Penal Code section 290, the prosecutor must prove that the person knew that he or she was required register as a sex offender. Notice of the duty to register is typically given to a person convicted by written notice, verbal notice by the prosecutor prior to a guilty or no contest plea, verbal notice by the judge when a person is sentenced, or written and/or verbal notice by the Department of Corrections when a person is released from jail or prison. In addition to knowledge of the registration requirement, the prosecutor must prove that a person's failure to register was willful. This means that the person must have failed to register on purpose.
The penalties for sex offenses vary greatly depending on the charge. Indecent exposure can be charged as a misdemeanor, however other offenses are felony "strike" offenses and, depending on many factors, can carry potential life sentences. It is important for a person facing sex-related charges to consult an experienced sex crimes attorney regarding the specific facts of a case to determine the potential penalties and defenses. If a person is convicted of an offense that requires registration under California Penal Code section 290, the law does not allow a judge to relieve that person of the duty to register. Similarly, an attorney cannot negotiate away the duty to register as a sex offender as part of a plea bargain agreement if someone is pleading guilty to an offense that requires registration. In order to avoid the registration requirement, a person must avoid pleading to an offense subject to the registration requirements of California Penal Code 290.
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