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Failure to Register as a Sex Offender Lawyer

To be charged with failing to register as a sex offender, on has already been convicted of a crime. This is sometimes referred to as “Megan’s Law.” The current law states  

Sex offenders, for the rest of his or her life while residing in California, or while attending school or working in California, as described in Sections 290.002 and 290.01, shall be required to register with the police of the city in which he or she is residing, or the sheriff of the county if he or she is residing in an unincorporated area or city that has no police department, and, additionally, with the chief of police of a campus of the University of California, the California State University, or community college if he or she is residing upon the campus or in any of its facilities, within five working days of coming into, or changing his or her residence within, any city, county, or city and county, or campus in which he or she temporarily resides, and shall be required to register thereafter in accordance with the Act.

Cal Pen Code § 290. There are four elements that one must have fulfilled in order to be charged with failing to register as a sex offender. However, even if one is charged with this crime there may be some applicable defenses that could possibly have the charges dropped. In addition, we will look at the possible penalties one may face if they are charged with this crime. Lastly, there are some mitigating factors that could reduce the possible punishment one may face if convicted of this crime. Thus, we will look at what failure to register as a sex offender is in depth.

Understanding the elements of failing to register as a sex offender in San Diego

There are four applicable elements to be charged with failing to register as a sex offender. The four elements are (1) one has been convicted of a California sex crime for which registration is required under Penal Code 290(c) PC; (2) one resides in California; (3) one knew they had a duty to register as a sex offender; and (4) one willfully failed to register or update your registration as required by the law. Cal Pen Code § 290. The prosecution must prove all four of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt in order to be convicted of failing to register as a sex offender. Thus, we will take a deeper look into all four of these elements to see what it takes to fulfill each one.

The first element is that one has been convicted of a California sex crime for which registration is required under Penal Code 290(c).

The first element is that one has been convicted of a California sex crime for which registration is required under Penal Code 290(c). If one is declared a sex offender and they have to register their identifying information with local law enforcement as long as they live, work, or attend school in California Penal Code 290. Here, we can see this is very broad because it includes the fact of living or working, or attending school in the state of California. It is almost if anyone has a current connection to the state they would still be required to register. It does state working so if one lives in Arizona but is just a few miles from the California border and they work in California they would still be required to register, even though they do not live in the state. Therefore, if one lives, works, or attends school in the state of California they have to register.

There is a certain time period one has to comply with in order to not violate this first element. The individual has to register every year within five working days of their birthday, and every time they change their address they must register within in five working days also. California. Penal Code 290. This is a pretty simple aspect of the element, every year one must register within the five days of their birthday. In addition, every time that they move.  It is important to note that the rule states that it is five working days, so weekends and holidays would not count and could add a little bit of a grace period to one’s time to notify the local police office.  Thus, when it is one’s birthday or when they move the must notify and reregister.

The list of crimes is extremely long that may require one to register as a sex offender. But as a basic rule, it is most commonly sex crimes. Some examples of these would rape crimes defined in California Penal code 261. Sexual battery, and most sex crimes involving a minor such as lewd acts, pornography, and sexual abuse. California penal code 288.5 and 269.Indecent exposure can also fall in this category. It is important to note it does have to be a sex crime to be required there is some discretion left to the court. Therefore, when one when sentenced with a sex crime this is a common punishment or if the court used discretion in the sentence and found this applicable.

Thus, the first element to failing to register as a sex offender is that one has been convicted of a California sex crime for which registration is required under Penal Code 290(c).

The next element is that the one being charged with failing to register as a sex offender resides in California.

The next element is that the one being charged with failing to register as a sex offender resides in California. In order for you to be convicted under Penal Code 290(b), the prosecutor must prove that you resided in California at the time you allegedly failed to register as a sex offender. CALCRIM 1170. This kind of builds off the previous element with living in California. One is considered to live in California if they live in California city or town, within California, or a California college campus. An example would be that after one served their sentence they moved to Nevada for ten years, then they decided to do a college program a California school and even though they still live in Nevada they move on campus during the semester they must register.  It does not matter if they did not change their license and still own a home in Nevada. Thus, one must reside in California to be charged with failing to register as a sex offender.

The third element the prosecution must prove is that one knew they had a duty to register as a sex offender.

The third element the prosecution must prove is that one knew they had a duty to register as a sex offender. In order for you to be guilty of failure to register as a sex offender, the prosecutor must be able to prove that you knew you were required to register under California Penal Code 290. This aspect of this crime makes it uncommon from most. One is usually pretty well aware that they have this requirement because they usual told by the prosecution at court, the judge informed them when they were originally sentenced, or there was an official letter sent to them.  However, ignorance of knowing their status will negate any criminal liability.  Even if one received a letter with a proper professional attorney they may be able to show that one did not fully understand what the letter was stating to them or a variance of that. Therefore, one must know they have a duty to register as a sex offender.

The last element required is that one willfully failed to register or update your registration as required by the law.

The last element required is that one willfully failed to register or update your registration as required by the law. “Willfully” means doing an act willingly or on purpose. It implies that you knew you had a duty to register and that you chose to ignore that duty. CALCRIM 1170. However, forgetting to register is not an excuse. A possible example would be one was in a car accident and they were stuck in the hospital receiving medical attention and could not make it down and reregister. Because they were physically unable to and they were in a serious accident this could be an example where one did not act willfully. Thus, one must act willfully when failing to register.

Therefore, the applicable rule is one has been convicted of a California sex crime for which registration is required under Penal Code 290(c) PC; one resides in California;  one knew they had a duty to register as a sex offender; and one willfully failed to register or update your registration as required by the law.

Understanding the defenses for failing to register as a sex offender in San Diego

Even if one is charged with failure to register as a sex offender there are some possible legal defenses that may be applicable to their situation. The first defense relates to the last element discussed, it is that one did not “willfully” fail to register. In addition, a possible defense would be that one attempted to register, but the information was lost or not received. Lastly, a defense could possibly be that one was falsely accused. Thus, there are multiple defenses that could be applicable to a failure to register as a sex offender charge.

The first defense we will look at is that one did not “willfully” fail to register.

The first defense we will look at is that one did not “willfully” fail to register. This defense relates to the last element we discussed above. It requires that the person charged acted willfully in not registering. Like the example given in the last element above if it was out of one’s control like being in the hospital for a medical emergency then this may be an applicable defense to the charges, one is facing. With a professional attorney at one’s side, they may be able to show the court that the one charged did not act willfully. Because they did not act willfully the charge is not applicable. Thus, if one did not act willfully in failing to register as a sex offender then that would be a defense to the charge.

The second defense is that one attempted to register, but your information was lost or not received.

The second defense is that one attempted to register, but your information was lost or not received. With the amount of paperwork that goes through the police office bureaucracy, it is inevitable that there is an eventual human error of misplaced paperwork.  If one’s paperwork is misplaced it is not their fault because they still tried register and comply with the law. We are all aware that accidents happen and this could result in a possible defense for the one charged. A professional defense attorney may be able to show that one took every step that they could to comply with the law and it was a mistake on the other end and it could negate the charge. Therefore, one’s paperwork being lost through the system may be a possible defense.

Lastly, a defense could possibly be that one was falsely accused.

Lastly, a defense could possibly be that one was falsely accused. It is the harsh reality that there is a stigma with those who have to register as a sex offender. Furthermore, police officers let their own personal bias conflict with their duty. So, it is a possibility that one complied with the law to the fullest but somehow an officer “misplaced” their paperwork. This then leads to the situation of the person who is charged word against the law enforcement officers word. This is where a skilled defense attorney makes all the difference. The professional attorney can bring light to the truth of the matter and show that one complied with the law and did not commit the crime. Thus, one may be falsely accused of the crime and that could be a potential defense.

Understanding the punishment for failing to register as a sex offender in San Diego

It is possible that failure to register as a sex offender qualifies as a felony or a misdemeanor.  There is a wide range of penalties one can face from this charge.  We will look at the felonies penalties and the misdemeanor penalties. Thus, failure to register as a sex offender can result in a felony or a misdemeanor.

If one is charged with a felony the penalty is a pretty serious punishment. One would likely receive felony any, or all of the following formal probation; sixteen (16) months, two (2) years or three (3) years in California state prison; and/or a fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000). California Penal Code 672. But, it is important to note that this is considered a continuing offense. This means that if one does not register for three years they may face three counts because they missed their registration requirement three times. Because of this, the punishment can be very severe.

If one is charged with a misdemeanor it is a very different punishment. It is stated as a possibility of, a misdemeanor (summary) probation; up to one (1) year in county jail; and/or a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000). California Penal Code 672.

Therefore, failure to register as a sex offender can result in a felony or misdemeanor charge.

Understanding the mitigating factors in failing to register as a sex offender in San Diego

There are some applicable mitigating factors to the charge. However, a lot of it depends on the original crime one was charged with. One will be charged with failing to register as a misdemeanor if: one is required to register based on a conviction for a misdemeanor sex offense, AND one has no prior convictions for failure to register as a sex offender. But Penal Code 290(b) will be charged as a felony if one’s prior sex offense conviction was a felony, OR if someone has 1 or more prior convictions for this offense. California Penal Code 290.018. Because there is a misdemeanor charge available there is a possibility of mitigating factors, but it is a case by case situation. Thus, there are mitigating factors applicable to the charge.

Hiring a lawyer that specializes in failing to register as a sex offender in San Diego will help the outcome of your case.

            The applicable rule is one has been convicted of a California sex crime for which registration is required under Penal Code 290(c) PC; one resides in California; one knew they had a duty to register as a sex offender; and one willfully failed to register or update your registration as required by the law. There are multiple defenses available. The punishment can result in a felony or misdemeanor. It is important to hire a lawyer that has handled hundreds of these cases in San Diego. Attorney Vik Monder has one of the best reputations in the District Attorney’s Office in handling the most serious sex offender cases. It is important to speak with Attorney Vik Monder about the details of your case to obtain the best possible outcome with the District Attorney’s Office.

Contact San Diego Failure to Register as a Sex Offender Criminal Defense Attorney Vik Monder for a FREE consultation today at: 619-405-0063

Contact San Diego Criminal Attorney Vik Monder for a free consultation today at: 619-405-0063

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