Removal From the Sex Offender Registry
Recall that the Sex Offender Registration Act requires anyone convicted of certain sex offenses in California to register as sex offenders. Under the state’s 3-tier registration, system, low-level offenses may only warrant registration for 10 years (Tier One), while mid-level offenses could require 20 years of registration (Tier Two) and serious offenses lifetime registration (Tier Three).
Some examples of offenses and their associated registration tier are:
- Tier One – misdemeanor sexual battery, indecent exposure
- Tier Two – lewdness with a minor under 14 years old, non-forced sodomy with a minor under 14
- Tier Three – most rape cases, sex trafficking of children, aggravated sexual assault of a child, child molestation, child pornography
Once a registered sex offender has completed their minimum registration period as determined by their tier, they can petition for removal. Note that those required to register for life cannot request removal.
Certain sex offenders may also try to remove their names from the federal Megan’s Law public database. An individual may ask for removal from the site if:
- the crime they were convicted of was sexual battery by restraint;
- the crime they were convicted of was annoying or molesting a child;
- the offense they committed did not involve penetration or oral copulation;
- the alleged victim was the defendant’s child, stepchild, grandchild, or sibling;
- they have successfully completed their probation sentence.
Unless the person is found to be a “sexually violent predator,” they may submit a Megan’s Law Exclusion Form to the California Department of Justice to formally request removal from the site.
Can Sex Convictions Be Expunged?
Another way a person may seek to clear their criminal sex record is by petitioning for expungement. However, keep in mind that certain sex crimes involving children are not eligible for expungement. More specifically, the following sex crimes may not be expunged:
- Penal Code 286(c) PC – sodomy with a child
- Penal Code 288 PC – lewd acts with a child
- Penal Code 287 (c) PC – oral copulation with a child
- Penal Code 261.5(d) PC – statutory rape (sexual intercourse between persons who are 21 years and older and persons younger than 16 years old)
In summary, most misdemeanor charges may be eligible for expungement. However, felonies and any crime involving sexual acts with a child cannot be expunged. Also, be aware that expungement will not end a person’s duty to register as a California sex offender; see the above to learn how to request for removal.
If you have a sex-related conviction on your record, you may have a couple post-conviction relief options. For one, you could petition for expungement if the sex crime in question did not involve a child. You could also petition for removal from the sex offender registry once you’ve completed your required registration period. An experienced attorney can help you file the appropriate forms to request removal from the sex offender registry, Megan’s Law website, and to petition for expungement.
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