Posted on July 29, 2015

California Penal Code § 290: Failure to Register as a Sex Offender

If you have previously been convicted of a sex offense which requires you to register as a sex offender and you fail to do so, or fail to annually update your registration, then you may be charged under California’s “Failure to Register as a Sex Offender” statute under Penal Code § 290. Consequently, the punishment can be severe depending upon what your underlying conviction was for and whether it was a felony or misdemeanor conviction which required you to register in the first place. Because you were ordered by the court to register, in addition to this charge you may face a probation violation as a result which could further subject you to additional penalties. This statute requires two parts: you must register within 5 days of your birthday and you must register anytime you change addresses. Since all sex accusation are serious, even if alleged as a misdemeanor, you should consult with a Los Angeles Sex Crimes Defense Attorney at the earliest juncture.

Elements of the Crime

In California, in order to prove that you are guilty of failing to register as a sex offender, the prosecution must prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. You were previously convicted of a sex crime requiring you to register

2. You reside in the state of California

3. You actually knew you had to register as a sex offender

4. You willfully failed to register as a sex offender or annually update registration

Legal Defenses

• You suffer from an acute psychological condition, or a chronic deficit of memory or intelligence which caused you “forgetfulness” of having to register. This is not an absolute defense but it may assist in negating you harbored the willful intent not to register. Note however that “just forgetting” or “innocently forgetting” is not a valid defense to this charge.

• You were not previously convicted of a sex offense which mandates that you register as a sex offender.

• You actually registered as a sex offender in accordance with the law however there was a clerical error not on your part.

• You did not have actual knowledge that you were required to register as a sex offender. This may result from ineffective assistance of your attorney after failing to inform you, or perhaps the court never admonished you of your requirement to register as a sex offender.

Penalties

If convicted of failing to register as a sex offender, the consequences will depend on whether you were convicted with a misdemeanor or felony offense. If the underlying charge which required you to register was a misdemeanor offense, then you face up to one year in the county jail. However, if the underlying sex offense was a felony, then you face up to 3 years in California state prison. Furthermore, if the underlying felony sex offense was a serious felony, then you may face additional years in state prison in addition to the 3 years.

Related Offenses

P.C. § 243.4: Sexual Battery

P.C. § 261: Rape

P.C. § 288: Lewd Acts with a Minor Under 14

P.C. § 311: Child Pornography

P.C. § 314: Indecent Exposure

Contact Us for a Free Consultation

If you have been arrested, charged, or under investigation for failing to register as a sex offender then contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney John Rogers at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers. Call 877-888-9820 for a free confidential consultation concerning your rights and defenses.

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