Ways to Terminate Sex Offender Registration in California

A sentence for a sex crime typically results in incarceration, hefty court fines, and an obligation to list as a sexual predator or offender. Being a registrant can have severe implications, including problems finding meaningful employment, housing, or prohibition from visiting particular places, making it challenging to rebuild your life.

 If you wish to put your past behind you, there are many ways to terminate sex offender registration in California. At Record Expungement Attorney, we have explained ways of ending your registration to make you a productive member of society and give you a clean slate in San Bernardino. 

Petition for Removal from the Sex Offender Registry

In 2017, Senate Bill (SB) 364, authored by Senator Scott Wiener, was passed by the Senate and signed by Governor Jerry Brown. The law took effect on the 1st of January 2021, creating a tier-based approach to the sex predator registry. Under the tier system, sex offenders must enter their names on the registry for a particular duration based on the severity of the offense. The purpose of the SB was to allow the police to focus on serious crimes and make it possible to target offenders more likely to engage in repeat sex offenses.

Before the statute's passage, most individuals convicted of sex offenses were required to list as sex offenders for a lifetime.

  1. California Three―Tiered Approach

SB 384 establishes a tier-based approach to the sex predator registry. In the system, each tier has a duration for which you, the offender, must appear in the registry. Tier one is set aside for defendants convicted of less severe sex crimes like:

  • Misdemeanor sexual battery or indecent exposure.
  • Misdemeanor child molestation.
  • Soliciting prostitution.
  • Misdemeanor child pornography possession.
  • Misdemeanor lascivious act with a minor 14 or older.
  • Peeping Tom offenses.

Under the tier, you should register as a sex offender for at least ten years. After the duration, you can file a petition to have your name struck off the sex predator registry.

Tier two is set aside for people who engage in more severe sex crimes than those listed under tier one, but not as severe as those of tier three. These offenses include the following:

  • Lascivious act with a child below 14.
  • Non-forced oral copulation with a minor younger than 14.
  • PEN 286, non-forced sodomy of a child younger than 14.
  • PEN 285, incest.

A conviction for any of these offenses falls under tier two and will lead to being a registrant for twenty years. Only after your name has appeared on the registry for at least twenty years can you file a petition for termination.

Tier three is set aside for sexual convicts who engage in the following offenses:

  • Aggravated rape.
  • Child pornography.
  • Child molestation.
  • Forcible sexual penetration of a minor under PEN 289.
  • Forcible sodomy.
  • Child sex trafficking.
  • Forcible lewd conduct with a minor.

Under this tier, there are no significant changes after SB 384 took effect because your name remains on the sexual convict registry for the rest of your life because of the severity of your crime.

You must understand that tier three is based on the risk evaluation protocol instead of the crime you were sentenced for. Specific subsets of the sexual convicts under this tier only keep their names in the registry for at least 20 years, just like in tier two.

  1. Juvenile Sex Offenders

Juveniles or delinquents whose sexual offenses were sustained in the juvenile court and not the adult criminal court is also required to register as sex offenders. SB 384 establishes a two-tiered approach for these delinquents. When your sustained petition is for a registerable sex crime listed under PEN 290, your name should remain on the list of sexual convicts for at least ten years. A sustained petition for other remaining offenses will keep your name on the sex predator registry for a minimum of five years.

  1. Estimating the Duration for Being in Sex Offender Registry

Establishing when the clock starts ticking for the relevant duration you should remain in the sexual offender registry is not straightforward. The minimum registration duration begins once you have served your sentence, including placement in a civil facility. For instance, if you were sentenced to state incarceration and ordered to enlist as a sex offender, the date for calculating the period of being in the registry is the release date, not the sentencing one.

Furthermore, the calculations are highly complex because if you are sentenced for a subsequent sex offense, the new offense will toll or stop the registration period clock. The period behind bars will not count unless the criminal charges are dropped or you are acquitted. The registration duration will be extended by twelve months if you are convicted of a misdemeanor before the expiry of the minimum registration duration provided by the law. A felony sentence during the same period will see an additional thirty-six months to the registration duration.

According to SB 384, when you are sentenced for an offense listed in level two, you can file a petition to remove your name from the registry after being there for at least 20 years. The years are calculated depending on your sentencing or release date, whichever is most current. If your crime is enumerated under tier one, you can file the removal petition ten years after the sentencing date or the time you were released from prison, based on the most recent date.

Your name will not automatically be removed from the sex offender registry after the lapse of the minimum registration duration per SB 384. As the petitioner, you must petition for termination from your obligation to sign up as a sex predator and convince the judge that you deserve termination from the list.

The years of being in the registry or filing the termination petition are highly complex. Therefore, do not seek removal alone. You need an expungement attorney to guide you through the process and convince the court that you deserve a clean slate. There are many handles in the application for termination of registration duty.

For example, the court will ask you to present the SARTSO psychological exam, which utilizes your criminal history. The psychologist performing the evaluation has no access to these records. Again, you are not lawfully authorized to share the independent evidence of that data. This is among the many difficulties you will encounter in an SB 384 petition. Therefore, only undertake the process with legal guidance.

Hire the Record Expungement Attorney to help you with the case. Even if your petition is unsuccessful, we will do it right the second time on your behalf to increase the chances of it being successful. When a first petition is denied because you did not do it right, the law allows you to refile within three to five years.

  1. The SB 384 Procedure

Several stages are involved in filing for the termination of the sex convict registration requirement. These phases are:

  • Draft, serve, and file the petition promptly with all necessary forms and files attached.
  • Present evidence of your sex predator registrant status from the police to the judge and all other relevant parties.
  • Submit the results of your SARTSO evaluation to the judge.
  • Submit your evidence and assertions in the petition proceeding.

Usually, after filing the petition with the relevant courts, you should send a copy of the petition to the police and another to the district attorney in your county of registration. Once the court receives your petition, the police will send a report to the DA and the judge handling the petition within sixty days, but only if you meet the minimum criteria for termination.

After the prosecutor obtains the police report, they will have sixty days to agree with or oppose the removal. They can request a summary denial of the petition, hold a hearing to determine the matter, or grant the SB 384 petition. The prosecutor will oppose the termination as a registrant if:

  • The registration period has not expired due to tolling or
  • Has been extended due to a new apprehension or sentence, the prosecutor will oppose the removal.

Also, they will oppose your removal from the registry due to community safety. If your continued stay in the registry keeps society safe, the prosecutor will urge the court to deny your petition. The prosecutor will cite the following factors when opposing the removal:

  • The number of your victims.
  • The age of the victims.
  • The nature of your offense.
  • Your criminal record.
  • Completion of the relevant sexual offender education or counseling programs.
  • Whether you were a stranger to your victim during the commissioning of the crime.

When your petition is challenged, the judge will hold a litigation hearing. You need an attorney for this proceeding to poke holes in the evidence presented to oppose your removal. Your attorney will offer the following as evidence to support a termination of the registration requirement:

  • An affidavit by your victim or their family supporting the removal of your name from the registry.
  • A report from your parole or probation officer regarding the petition.
  • Letters from reputable community members testifying to your behavior change.

Once you and the opposing side have made your assertions, the judge will review the evidence and decide whether to grant or deny the petition.

PEN 4852 Petition for Certificate of Rehabilitation (COR)

Another way to terminate the requirement for sex predator registration after you have been convicted of a sex crime is by obtaining a rehabilitation certificate. The certificate proves that you have rehabilitated and become a productive community member after your sexual offense.

Not every person convicted of a sex crime is eligible for the rehabilitation certificate. However, even if you do not qualify for the COR, you can petition for a governor’s pardon. The pardon will terminate the sex predator registration requirement. Nevertheless, obtaining the pardon is more challenging than being granted your petition for a rehabilitation certificate. You can file a petition for COR unless you have been convicted of the following offenses:

  • Felony sexual battery.
  • Felony pondering.
  • Lascivious act on a child.
  • Annoying a child.
  • Continuous sexual abuse of a minor.
  • Forcible oral copulation with a minor.
  • Rape or sexual assault.
  • Assault with intent to commit a sex crime.
  • Kidnapping with intent to rape, sodomize or engage in sexual penetration utilizing an object.
  • Sexual conduct with a minor younger than 10.
  • Sodomy by force.

When convicted of any of these crimes, the only way the court can relieve you from the requirement to list you as a sex offender is by a governor’s full pardon. You cannot petition for a COR under these circumstances because a sentence for these crimes cannot be deleted, and the first requirement for you to obtain a COR is to expunge your criminal record. Therefore, if the offense that led to the duty for a sex offender or predator registration cannot be expunged, you should try a governor’s pardon to obtain relief from this obligation.

Applying for a COR is easy. Additionally, you can commence the petition process even before the expiration of the registration period provided in SB 384.

Not everyone can file the COR petition. Depending on the offense that led to the registration obligation, you must have been continuously residing in California for the last five years. The residency requirement will be longer for those convicted of offenses like continuous sexual abuse of a child.

All granted COR petitions are automatically filed as gubernatorial pardon applications. For this reason, there is no duplicate effort. Nonetheless, because some registered sex offenders are ineligible for COR relief, a full pardon is available. Whether you petition for a COR or governor’s pardon, do not complete the process alone. Hire an expungement attorney to assist you with the process.

The steps involved in filing a COR petition are:

  • Prompt drafting, serving, and filing of the COR petition.
  • Presenting evidence of your registrant status from the police to the judge and district attorney.
  • Submitting evidence of positive STATIC99 test results.
  • Furnishing the court and interested parties with proof of California residence.
  • Presenting evidence and arguments in the litigated hearing.

The entire process from the date of filing the petition to the hearing date takes approximately three months. Talk to an experienced expunction attorney to estimate your petition's length. The services of an attorney are extremely crucial because they can even arrange a meeting with the prosecutor before the court proceeding to seek their support. Support from the prosecutor will be influential in convincing the judge to grant your petition.

PEN 290.46 Petition for Exclusion from Megan’s Law Site 

You can have your name removed from Megan’s Law or the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) site by filing a petition. Although you will not be relieved of the duty to register, your information will be excluded or removed from the registration database.

The DOJ site is a tracking program that maintains and runs information about sex offenders. The program informs the public about sex offenders through the Megan’s Law website. 

Requirements for Omission from the DOJ Site

To petition for exclusion from this site, you must have been sentenced for sexual battery by restraint, molesting, or a registerable sexual crime. Additionally, you must show that you completed probation for your crime. You must present to the DOJ the probation report or any other official paperwork demonstrating you were the victim’s stepparent, sibling, parent, or grandparent. Further, you must present evidence to show you did not engage in the following conduct:

  • Oral copulation.
  • Penetration of the victim’s vagina or rectum utilizing a foreign object, your penis, or the victim’s penis.

Your eligibility for exclusion depends on the evidence you present before the DOJ. Also, even if you are granted the exclusion from the site, your obligation as a sex offender registrant still stands. The only advantage you obtain is that you can tell potential employers or landlords that you have never been a registrant. When DOJ grants your petition, your sexual offender registration will no longer be visible to the public. The entire application process takes from one to three months to complete.

It is worth noting that when you are a convicted sex convict registrant, visiting Megan’s Law Site is a misdemeanor offense whose sentence includes at least half a year in jail or $1,000 in monetary court fines.

Also, it is a criminal offense under PEN 290 to refuse to enlist in the sex offender registry at a San Bernardino police station. When a person is arrested and charged with failure to register, the prosecutor must demonstrate the following elements to secure a conviction:

  • You have been sentenced in the past for a registerable sex crime.
  • You were living in California at the time.
  • You were aware of the requirement to register.
  • You deliberately failed to include or update your name on the registry.

Sex offenders are likely to repeat the offense, so their names should be listed on Megan's law website for easy tracking by police and public updates.

The punishment for failing to register depends on the baseline offense. If the registerable sex crime is a misdemeanor, you will face the following:

  • Misdemeanor probation.
  • $1,000 monetary court fines.
  • No more than 12 months in jail.

For a felony, the penalties are:

  • Formal probation.
  • 16, 24, or 36 months state incarceration.
  • At most, $10,000 in court fines.

Find an Expungement Attorney Near Me

If you wish to terminate your sex offender registration in San Bernardino, do not hesitate to contact the Record Expungement Attorney. Our attorneys can help you terminate registration through a petition for COR, termination from the registry, or exclusion from the DOJ site. Call us today at 909-965-4033 to discuss your eligibility under each termination method and find the most suitable option.

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