In 2016, we discussed how America’s sex crime laws drastically need to change for a number of reasons. One of the biggest problems sex crime lawyers have with the existing laws is the fact that all sex offenders are required to register for life, even if they do not present a threat to the public. But the state legislature has finally addressed that problem. Here’s what you should know about California’s new sex offender laws.
When Sex Crime Reform Will Take Place
First off, while this new law was passed in December of 2017, it will not take effect until January 2021 in order to give the state time to prepare for these drastic changes. Unfortunately, that means anyone currently registered as a sex offender or convicted of a sex crime before that time will be subject to the existing rules.
California’s New Sex Crimes Registry
As of 2021, the state’s new sex offender laws will create three tiers of sex crimes and each tier will have a different length of time for convicts on the tier to be subject to mandatory sex offender reporting. The lowest level, will be tier one and will include minor sex offenses that are misdemeanors and non-serious or non-violent felonies, for example, indecent exposure or statutory rape with a willing person over 14. Those convicted of tier one sex crimes will be required to register for ten years after the date of their offense. Tier two crimes will include things like non-forced sodomy with a minor under 14 and will carry a mandatory reporting period of twenty years. Finally, tier three will be reserved for the most serious sex crimes like rape or sex crimes against children under 10. Tier three sex crimes will continue to require mandatory lifetime registration.
Repeat offenders will be placed in higher tiers and each conviction will reset the waiting period to be removed from the registry. Failure to report will add one year to your registration period.
Because the tiers are already defined by law, your lawyer will not be able to negotiate plea bargains that directly change your mandatory reporting period. Sex crime defense attorney may be able to negotiate a plea bargain for lesser charges through, which could result in your dropping to a lower tier.
Removal From the Sex Offender Registry
It is worth noting that California’s sex offender registry removal process will not happen automatically. Instead, you will need to speak to your lawyers to file a request with the court. Unfortunately, these registration periods are minimums and a local district attorney may choose to file a response requesting the judge to continue your registration on the grounds that you are still considered a threat to the community and require further monitoring. Ultimately, the decision to discharge someone from the registry will be at the discretion of the judge.
California’s new sex crimes registry will be a drastic improvement over the existing one, but it is also far more confusing. If you have any questions about the upcoming changes, Peter M. Liss can help. Please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation.
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