It’s widely known that many sex crimes require people to register as sex offenders, but not every sex crime will result in mandatory registration. One such example is statutory rape, at least, in some cases. In fact, whether or not someone convicted of statutory rape will be required to register as a sex offender will vary greatly based on the specifics of the crime.
When Does Statutory Rape Require Registry on the Sex Offender List?
Being as how two people under 18 can even be charged with statutory rape, it makes sense that whether or not someone is required to register will depend on their unique situation. The state largely bases mandatory registration on whether or not a relationship can be considered truly consensual or if it is excessively exploitative. As such, when couples are more than 10 years apart in age, or if one of the victim is under 14, registration on the sex offender list is mandatory because it could be considered to be exploitative.
On the other hand, if the victim is over 14 and the two parties are within 10 years of age, it is believed that the relationship could be considered more consensual (though California state law does not believe someone can truly consent until they are over the age of 18 or married). That being said, it is still possible for someone to be required to register in these cases as the decision is ultimately up to the judge. A lawyer can play an important role in helping to ensure someone in this situation is not required to register. Naturally, if force, coercion or similar circumstances were involved, the judge will usually require registration regardless of the ages of those involved.
Recent Changes to the Law
It’s worth noting that up until January 1, 2021, those who were sexually involved with someone over 14 and within 10 years of their own age still had to register as sex offenders if the intercourse was not vaginal. Those who participated in anal or oral intercourse with someone under 18 were subjected to mandatory registration. The California state legislature recently modified the law so it was no longer discriminatory towards the LGBT community -though of course people of all sexualities may participate in anal or oral intercourse.
How Long Are Statutory Rapists Required to Register?
Up until January 1, 2021, anyone put on the sex crime registry was required to register for life. Under the new tiered system that took effect on that date, now those convicted of statutory rape will be on the lowest tier of the sex offender list, meaning they will only be required to register for at least 10 years. That being said, removal from the registry isn’t automatic, so those who are on the list must petition for removal. Since judges base their decision regarding removal from the list on whether or not the petitioner is a threat to public safety, most people convicted of statutory rape will likely find their petitions approved.
If a defense lawyer negotiates with the prosecutor for non registration on a statutory rape case, judges will almost always approve of the plea agreement. This often requires psychological assessment and counseling. Statutory rape can also be reduced to a misdemeanor and expunged from your record after probation is over. Although, the charge can be a misdemeanor from the start, in San Diego County the District Attorney typically files felony charges.
If you have any question regarding statutory rape or the sex offender registry, please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free consultation with Peter M. Liss.