You probably already know that those convicted for sex crimes are required to register as sex offenders every year after they serve their time behind bars. What you might not know is what will happen to a sex offender who fails to register when required to do so. If you or someone you love is a sex offender who has been accused of failing to register, it is critical you contact a sex crime defense attorney as soon as possible.
When are Sex Offenders Required to Register?
As a sex offender in California, you are legally required to re-register every time you move to a new address and every year within five days of your birthday. Moving to a new state requires you to notify both the previous agency you registered with in California and the registration agency for the location you are moving to within five days of the move. Transient sex offenders are required to register every 30 days. In some cases, you might need to contact your lawyer to find out where and when to register because there are so many rules and restrictions on convicted sex offenders.
What Happens If You Fail to Register as a Sex Offender?
The penalties for failure to register as a sex offender will vary based on the original charges you were convicted of and whether or not you have a prior charge on your record. If you were convicted of a misdemeanor sex crime and have no prior failure to register violations, you will be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. If you were convicted of a felony originally or if you were charged with failure to register before that, you will face a felony charge punishable by up to three years imprisonment.
You Have the Right to Defend Yourself
Fortunately, your lawyer can help you fight these charges just like the original charges. Successful defenses to failure to register charges include being unable to register due to circumstances beyond your control or attempting to register but having your information lost. Not being guilty of the original crime is not a defense for registry violation charges.
If you have been accused of failing to register as a sex offender in San Diego, it is critical you speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Remember that in attempting to defend yourself against these accusations, you may accidentally incriminate yourself further. This is why you should refuse to speak with police without a lawyer present. Please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation with Peter M. Liss.
Creative Commons Image by Bill Whittaker