When someone is convicted of a criminal offense, they must comply with the corresponding penalties, like serving time in jail, paying fines, or completing mandatory counseling. Once you fulfill the terms of the sentence, you can move forward with your life. Unfortunately, this is not always the case for everyone. Those convicted of certain offenses, classified as sex crimes, must also register as sex offenders on a publicly searchable database. As a registered sex offender, you may face severe barriers to employment, housing, and other freedoms that others take for granted. California law used to require lifetime registration for most sex-related offenses. However, an updated law that went into effect in 2021 created a three-tiered approach to sex offender registration guidelines. Under this amended law, certain offenders may petition the court for sex offender registry removal (meaning their name and details is delisted from the register), provided that they meet specific eligibility requirements.
The dedicated and experienced criminal defense attorneys at Wegman & Levin are prepared to help you navigate every step of the petitioning process, defending your rights and best interests at every turn.
Understanding California’s Three-Tier System for Sex Offender Registry Removal
Prior to 2021, virtually every criminal offense requiring sex offender registration compelled the defendant to register as a sex offender for the duration of their lifetime. Under the amended laws, California recognizes three tiers of sex offender registration.
Tier 1 applies to most misdemeanor sex offenses and certain non-strike felony sex offenses and requires the defendant to register as a sex offender for a period of ten years. Additionally, Tier 1 registrants will no longer have their faces and personal information published online.
Tier 2 covers all serious and/or violent felonies, felony sex offenses in which the victim is disabled, acts of incest, and subsequent convictions for misdemeanor crimes involving the molestation of a minor. Those convicted of Tier 2 qualifying offenses must remain on the sex offender registry for 20 years.
The most serious sex crimes are categorized as Tier 3 offenses and require lifetime registration on the sex offender database. Tier 3 offenses include convictions with a prior violent sex offense, certain internet sex crimes, and sex crimes involving those classified as Sexually Violent Predators.
Petitioning the Court for California Sex Offender Registry Removal
Those whose offenses fall under Tier 1 or Tier 2 have the right to petition for removal from the California sex offender registry. It’s important to understand before you embark on the path to California sex offender registry removal, that you do still need to fulfill your mandated registry duration—10 years for Tier 1 and 20 years for Tier 2 offenses. There are also additional barriers to overcome once the time requirement is satisfied to remove your name from the sex offender registry. You will need to be able to provide information to the courts:
- Submission of proof of residency in California showing you are a current resident
- Presentation of a clear record with no outstanding criminal charges, showing you are not in police custody or under any kind of probation or parole supervision.
- Verification of an accurate and up-to-date sex offender registration status.
Once you’ve lodged your California sex offender registry removal application with the court, the ball is in the District Attorney’s court. They may call for a hearing, evaluating your petition against public safety parameters. If the court, following the DA’s insights, rejects your plea for removal from the sex offender registry, don’t lose heart. You possess the right to file a new petition between one and five years after the initial refusal.
In some instances, the District Attorney might deem a hearing unnecessary. In these scenarios, your sex offender registry removal petition might be granted without necessitating a court session.
The formalities and procedures involved in petitioning the court can be intimidating and confusing unless you have experience with them. Wegman & Levin is experienced in petitioning for termination of registration, whether you were convicted in California or elsewhere.
Trusted Legal Guidance When You Need It Most
Thanks to California’s revised petition system, many hope to move past their errors. Our adept criminal defense attorneys at Wegman & Levin are eager to help you step into a brighter tomorrow. Need California sex offender registry removal assistance? We’re here to help. Schedule a free consultation today.