You May Be Able to Get Your Name Removed from the California Sex Offender List
Being convicted for a sex crime and labeled as a sex offender is a frightening experience, but the consequences of such a conviction last far longer than many people anticipate. Even after all court ordered penalties are satisfied, a sex offender in California — up until now — has been required to register publicly as a sex offender for life.
Senate Bill 421 brings some significant changes for California’s currently registered sex offenders, as well as new sex offenders. California’s current system for sex offender registration requires a convicted sex offender — regardless of the severity of the crime — to register for life, and this can pose challenges for defendants, who often experience difficulty finding a place to live and getting a job after registration, simply to name a few. Sex offender records are made publicly available under Megan’s Law, even thirty, forty, or fifty years after the incident has passed.
Tiered Offense Categories
SB 421, however, introduces a new concept to sex offender registration. The bill establishes three “tiered offense” categories that are based on the severity of the crime for which the defendant was found guilty. For example, an individual who was charged and convicted of public indecency might only be a Tier 1 offender and be required to register as a sex offender for 10 years. Once the 10 year time period was up, the individual can have their name removed from the registry. However, a sex offender who was convicted of child molestation or another serious sex crime, may be considered a Tier 2 or Tier 3 offender and be required to register for 20 years or life, respectively.
For many years, California has been considered one of the harshest states in the country when it comes to sex offender laws. No distinction was made between different levels of crimes, and simple crimes like statutory rape was lumped in with much more severe crimes when it came to registration.
What SB 421 Means for Currently Registered Offenders
SB 421 could allow sex offenders who were convicted of lesser crimes to be removed from the sex offender registration list if enough time has passed. For example, an individual who was convicted of what will now be considered a Tier 1 offense 12 years ago could no longer be required to register and can have his or her information removed from sex offender registration lists. This could vastly improve the lives of rehabilitated sex offenders who had been convicted of lesser offenses, not to mention, reduce the exorbitant costs of keeping such a large sex offender registry, which is largely absorbed by California residents.
How an Attorney Can Help:
If you’re a registered sex offender, you may be affected by the new laws put into place. Sacramento criminal defense lawyer Jennifer Mouzis can help you get your name removed from the sex offender registration list if you meet certain criteria under the law, which could improve your ability to work and earn a living, move from place to place freely, and engage in activities which you may not have been previously able to due to registration restrictions.
By contacting us early, we will be prepared to assist you in removing your name from the list as soon as this bill becomes law. Contact Attorney Jennifer Mouzis today for more information by calling (916) 822-8702.