Penal Code section 290 Attorneys
California Penal Code section 290, commonly known as the sex registration law, requires defendants convicted of certain sex crimes to be register as sex offenders with law enforcement agencies. This lifelong registration requirement is one of the worst penalties that can ever be imposed on a defendant because of the following consequences:
* Information posted online – defendant’s name, picture, address and nature of conviction are posted on a website that is accessible to the public.
* Registration – defendant must contact his local law enforcement agency every year on his birthday AND every time he moves residences to let them know of his whereabouts
* Restricted living – defendant is required to NOT live in certain places, such as within 2000 feet of schools, parks and other places where children may congregate
Once it becomes known that a person is a sex offender, they become pariahs in their community. They will be subjected to a lifetime of shame and harassment, not to mention that they won’t be allowed to live in many places. It is becoming increasingly difficult for sex offenders to find homes because of the restrictions placed on them.
California Sex Crimes that Trigger 290 Registration
Penal Code section 290(c) requires the following people to register as a sex offender:
“Any person who, since July 1, 1944, has been or is hereafter convicted in any court in this state or in any federal or military court of a violation of Section 187 committed in the perpetration, or an attempt to perpetrate, rape or any act punishable under Section 286, 288, 288a, or 289, Section 207 or 209 committed with intent to violate Section 261, 286, 288, 288a, or 289, Section 220, except assault to commit mayhem, Section 243.4, paragraph (1), (2), (3), (4), or (6) of subdivision (a) of Section 261, paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 262 involving the use of force or violence for which the person is sentenced to the state prison, Section 264.1, 266, or 266c, subdivision (b) of Section 266h, subdivision (b) of Section 266i, Section 266j, 267, 269, 285, 286, 288, 288a, 288.3, 288.4, 288.5, 288.7, 289, or 311.1, subdivision (b), (c), or (d) of Section 311.2, Section 311.3, 311.4, 311.10, 311.11, or 647.6, former Section 647a, subdivision (c) of Section 653f, subdivision 1 or 2 of Section 314, any offense involving lewd or lascivious conduct under Section 272, or any felony violation of Section 288.2; any statutory predecessor that includes all elements of one of the above-mentioned offenses; or any person who since that date has been or is hereafter convicted of the attempt or conspiracy to commit any of the above-mentioned offenses.”
Statutes are often difficult to read and interpret. Penal Code section 290 requires the lifetime sex registration for defendants convicted of the following crimes:
Annoying or Molesting a Child – Penal Code section 647.6
Assault with intent to commit certain sex offenses – Penal Code section 220(a)
Burglary of the first degree with intent to commit certain sex offenses – Penal Code section 220(b)
Child Pornography– Penal Code sections 311 et seq
Communications with a minor with intent to commit certain sex offenses– Penal Code section 288.3
Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child – Penal Code section 288.5
Incest – Penal Code section 285
Indecent Exposure– Penal Code section 314
Kidnapping with intent commit certain sex offenses – Penal Code sections 207, 209
Lewd and Lascivious Act on a Child Under 14 – Penal Code section 288
Oral Copulation with a Minor– Penal Code section 288a
Pimping and Pandering of a Minor – Penal Code sections 266h(b), 266i(b), 266j, 267
Rape – Penal Code section 261
Rape of a Spouse – Penal Code section 262(a)(1)
Rape through Sexual Penetration with a Foreign Object – Penal Code section 289
Sexual battery – Penal Code section 243.4
Sodomy with a Minor – Penal Code sections 286, 288.7
Also sex offender registration is required for defendants who aid and abet some of these crimes.
Penal Code Section 290.006
Penal Code section 290 lists sex offenses for which registration is required. However, Penal Code section 290.006 allows the judge to impose registration as a sex offender for any offense, at the judge's discretion. The law only requires that the court find that at the time of conviction or sentencing, the person committed the offense "as a result of sexual compulsion or for purposes of sexual gratification" and that the court state on the record the reasons for its findings and the reasons for requiring registration. This means that almost any offense related to the act of sex could require registration. For example, a court could impose registration in a prostitution case since prostitution is almost always done for the "purpose of sexual gratification".
The requirement of having a defendant register as a sex offender has been around a long time. However, prior to the enactment of Megan’s Law, the databases for sex offenders were only found in police stations. Ordinary citizens who wanted to get information on sex offenders in their community had to visit their local police station. Megan’s Law required the government to create a website where sex offender information was posted for everybody to see.
Megan’s Law is based on the New Jersey girl Megan Kanka, a seven-year old who was raped and killed by a known child molester who had moved across the street from the family without their knowledge. Although the law was first enacted in New Jersey, all states, including California, have a version of the law.
In order to see how easy it is to find sex offenders online, go to the Megan’s Law site.
Jessica’s Law, formally known as the Sexual Predator Punishment and Control Act, passed in 2006 from a voter's iniative . Jessica’s Law is based on the rape and murder of Jessica Lunsford, a young girl in Florida. Her rapist and murderer was John Couey, a previously convicted sex offender. Public outrage over this incident led to the enactment of laws that targeted sex offenders with a higher penalties. In California, Jessica’s Law has led to:
* Increased penalties for sex offenders
* Broadened the definition of certain sexual offenses
* Eliminated good time credits for early release of certain offenders
* Prohibited probation for certain crimes
* Extended parole for some offenses
* Provided for lifelong GPS monitoring of high risk sex offenders
* Bars convicted sex offenders from living within 2000 feet of a school or any place where children gather
This last restriction effectively prevents sex offenders from living in most areas in California.
Remedies to Sex Offender Registration
There are not many remedies to a person who is required to register as a sex offender. If a person is convicted of a crime requiring sex registration, then the first thing that person should do is file a motion for a new trial. If that does not fix the problem, then the defendant should file an appeal. Fred Thiagarajah has experience in appeals, specifically involving sex offenders. If an appeal is not granted (and appeals are usually not granted), then in certain situations, a defendant can file a Hofsheier motion. Such motions can be used, post-conviction, to alleviate sex registration for certain offenders.
An expungement of the conviction will NOT eliminate sex offender registration. In fact, some sex crimes cannot be expunged in the first place. A certificate of rehabilitation will relieve some sex offenders of their duty to register, but a certificate of rehabilitation is also not available to some sex offenders. A governor’s pardon will eliminate the requirement of sex registration for ALL sex offenders. However, both certificates of rehabilitation and governor’s pardons are incredibly rare. For more information on either, please visit our section on post-conviction relief.
Being convicted of a crime that requires 290 registration will have drastic employment, licensing and immigration consequences. Almost every crime requiring 290 registration is considered a crime of moral turpitude. Being a sex offender can prevent a person from finding a job or lead to a person being fired from their current job. Furthermore, many professions that require licensing from a state board, such as doctors, pharmacists, nurses, lawyers, accountants, contractors, teachers, real estate agents and stock brokers, all require background checks. A professional who is required to register as a sex offender will almost certainly lose their professional license, or never acquire it in the first place. In addition to registering as a sex offender for life, the most severe impact of a 290 conviction involves immigration consequences. Non-citizens who are permanent residents, with a green card, or temporary visitors, with a student visa or work visa, will almost certainly be denied admission or naturalization or even deported, if they are required to register as a sex offender under Penal Code section 290.
The Right Lawyers
Choosing the right criminal defense lawyer will be the most important decision someone can make when facing any sex crime requiring registration. Many people who face sex crimes are good people who made a mistake or exercised poor judgment. There are also some people who have been wrongfully accused of a sex crime, based on a misunderstanding or false evidence. You need an attorney who will listen to your side of the story carefully, who will evaluate the evidence thoroughly, who will negotiate with the judge and the District Attorney’s office skillfully, and who will fight in trial aggressively. You need the Law Offices of Fred Thiagarajah.
All of our attorneys have either worked at the District Attorney's Office or the Public Defender's Office. Whether it's negotiation or trial, our attorneys have the training and experience to get the best results for our clients on their criminal cases and their immigration consequences. Our attorneys have worked in the Sexual Assault unit of the District Attorney's Office and use their specialized knowledge of sex crimes to defend our clients against all penalties, including sex offender registration. For an example of our work, please see our case results and read our client testimonials. With offices in Newport Beach, Long Beach, Murrieta, Riverside and Rancho Cucamonga, our team of attorneys have the right criminal defense experience in Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.
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