Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
If you have ever been convicted of a sex offense, you may be required to register as a sex offender with the police or sheriff’s department closest to your residence. If you move, you are required to register with the police department closest to your new residence within five days of your move. Even if you do not move, you are required to register each year within five working days of your birthday. Failure to register each year is a crime. You can be charged with separate offenses for each separate time you were supposed to register but failed to do so. In order to convict you of this offense, the prosecution must prove:
You were previously convicted or found guilty of a specific sex offense that requires you to register as a sex offender.
- If you do not have a qualifying sex offense on your record, you may not be required to register. You will need to consult with your attorney to determine if you can challenge the case on these grounds.
- Sustained juvenile petitions may trigger sex offender registration requirements.
You resided in California at the time you were supposed to register.
You knew you were supposed to register as a sex offender residing at the specific location where you allegedly failed to register. A shelter, home, or apartment where you spend some nights qualify as a residence. If you were informed in court of this requirement at sentencing for your previous case, this will be used to prove that you knew you were supposed to register. Similarly, if you signed paperwork that informed you of the registration requirement, this may be used to prove your knowledge.
- Lack of Knowledge – If you were not properly notified regarding the registration requirements, this may be a defense. Similarly, if you do not speak fluent English and were only advised in English of the requirements, your attorney may be able to argue that you did not know of the requirements.
- Special rules apply if you are homeless. Consult with your attorney if this applies to you.
You purposefully failed to register. Although the prosecution must prove that you willfully failed to register, forgetting to register is not a defense unless you have a severe psychological or mental impairment.
- Multiple Residences – If you stay in multiple places, you are required to register for each location or residence. However, if you did not know that you were required to register for multiple residences, this may be a defense.
- Time Requirements – The prosecutor must prove that you knew you were required to register within five working days of your birthday or within five working days of changing your residence.
- Misdemeanor/Felony – This charge can either be a misdemeanor or a felony. If the underlying offense that requires you to register was a misdemeanor, the first time you are charged with failure to register it is a misdemeanor and may be punished by up to one year in the County Jail. However, if you have previously been convicted of failing to register, you will be charged with a felony for failing to register. If the underlying offense was a felony, you will be charged with a felony for failing to register. As a felony, this charge may be punished by 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in prison. If you are convicted of this offense, your attorney will ask the Judge to give you probation instead of sentencing you to prison time. However, even if you are given probation, you will be required to spend at least 90 days in the County Jail.
If you or a loved one has been accused of failing to register as a sex offender in Los Angeles or anywhere in California, you should immediately contact a qualified criminal defense attorney. For a free and confidential consultation, call Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer Jerod Gunsberg at (323) 633-3423 or via the secure contact form on this page.