Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
PC 290(b) & 290.018
NEW LAW: Starting in July 2021, persons convicted of certain sex offenses will be ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 or 20 years, or for life, depending on the sex crime for which the defendant was convicted. This is known as California's new Tier System for Sex Offenders.
Under the new law, persons who are now required to register as a sex offender for life may petition the court for removal of that requirement if their conviction meets qualifications.
This page deals with failure to register as a sex offender. For information on new Tier System for Sex Offenders, or How to Request for Removal from the Sex Offender Website, See New Sex Offender Registration Tier System.
Failure to register as a sex offender after being ordered to do so as part of a conviction for a qualifying sex offense is a crime in California. Information on the crime of failure to register as a sex offender is found at California Penal Code sections 290(b) & 290.018.
Note: Failure to register as a sex offender may also be a violation of probation for defendants who are still on probation after a conviction to a qualifying sex offense. For defendants whose probationary period has ended, the district attorney may still file criminal charges against the defendant under PC 290(b) or PC 290.018 because the duty to register is both a terms of probation and a separate state requirement.
Qualifying Sex Offense: The duty to register as a sex offender arises after a conviction for a qualifying sex offense. Qualifying sex offenses are listed in California Penal Code section 290(c).
PC 290(c) Law: Any person convicted of rape, or any act punishable under Section 286, 288, 287a, or 289, Section 207 or 209 committed with intent to violate Section 261, 286, 288, 288a, or 289, Section 220, except assault to commit mayhem, Section 243.4, paragraph (1), (2), (3), (4), or (6), or subdivision (a) of Section 261, paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 262 involving the use of force or violence for which the person is sentenced to the state prison, Section 264.1, 266, or 266c, subdivision (b) of Section 266h, subdivision (b) of Section 266i, Section 266j, 267, 269, 285, 286, 288, 287a, 288.3, 288.4, 288.5, 288.7, 289, or 311.1, subdivision (b), (c), or (d) of Section 311.2, Section 311.3, 311.4, 311.10, 311.11, or 647.6, former Section 647a, subdivision (c) of Section 653f, subdivision 1 or 2 of Section 314, any offense involving lewd or lascivious conduct under Section 272, or any felony violation of Section 288.2; any statutory predecessor that includes all elements of one of the above-mentioned offenses; or any person who since that date has been or is hereafter convicted of the attempt or conspiracy to commit any of the above-mentioned offenses (Abbrev.).
Most of the crimes listed in PC 290(c) are felonies and are considered strike crimes under California's Three Strikes Law. With only a few exceptions ,the penal codes listed above represent the sex crimes of assault to commit rape, rape, lewd acts on minors, indecent exposure, sexual battery, forced sexual conduct, pornography of minors, pimping by force or of minors, pandering by force or of minors, prostitution by force or of minors, and annoying or molesting children.
How to Register Overview
To register as a sex offender pursuant to PC 290(b), the defendant must appear in person to the local police department (or Sheriff's Department) of the city in which he or she resides. Registration must be completed within five working days after release from custody or on probation. A person also has five working days to complete sex offender registration if he/she changes his/her residence. The defendant's criminal defense attorney may assist in the registration process.
If a defendant is currently homeless, he/she must still register as a sex offender within five working days of release from custody. Rather than including his or her address when registering, the defendant must register as a transient. The defendant must then continue to register as a transient sex offender every thirty days thereafter until he/she finds a residence (PC 290.011).
All sexual registrants must update their registration annually, within five working days of their birthday (Penal Code 290.012). Those sex offenders who are deemed sexually violent predators must update their registration no less than every 90 days (Penal Code 290.001).
Registration under PC 290(b) includes photographing and fingerprinting the defendant, and taking his/her name, address and telephone number, his/her employer address, and license plate number of any vehicle registered to him/her (PC 290(e)(2)).
Note: Other requirements may apply.
Failure to Register Issues
Failure to register as a sex offender is a crime per PC 290(b) & 290.018 (other penal code sections may apply to failure to register as a sex offender crimes).
To prove that the defendant failed to register as sex offender per PC 290(b) the district attorney must prove that:
The defendant was previously convicted of a qualifying sex crime, and
The defendant resided in a California city, and
The defendant knew that he had a duty under penal code 290 to register as a sex offender within five working days of moving or on his or her birthday, and
The defendant willfully failed to register as a sex offender with the police or local law enforcement
Note: Some PC 290 violations require different elements to prove. for example, a person ordered to register as a transient sex offender must register every thirty days with local law enforcement.
PC 290(b) Penalties
The crime of failure to register as sex offender is may be charged as a felony or as a misdemeanor under PC 290(b). With some limitations, PC 290(b) is charged as a misdemeanor when the underlying conviction was also a misdemeanor.
Felony Sentence: Willful failure to register following a felony conviction of a qualifying offense is classified as felony. (PC 290(g)(2)). Felony convictions of failure to register carry up to a three year prison sentence.
Misdemeanor Sentence: Any person who is required to register as a sex offender based on a misdemeanor conviction, or juvenile adjudication, who willfully violates any requirement of the act is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year (PC 290.018(a) Abbrev.).
PC 290.018(f) Sexually Violent Predator Registration: Any person who has ever been adjudicated a sexually violent predator, as defined in Section 6600 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and who fails to verify his or her registration every 90 days as required pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 290.012, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison or in a county jail not exceeding one year (PC 290.018(f) Abbrev.)
PC 290.011 (Transient Registrants): Any person who is required to register pursuant to Section 290.011 and willfully fails to comply with the requirement that he or she register no less than every 30 days is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for at least 30 days, but not exceeding six months. A person who willfully fails to comply with the requirement that he or she register no less than every 30 days shall not be charged with this violation more often than once for a failure to register in any period of 90 days (Abbrev.).
PC 290.018(h) Fail to Prove Residency: Any person who fails to provide proof of residence, regardless of the offense upon which the duty to register is based, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months (Abbrev.).
PC 290.018(j) Failure to Provide Information: In addition to any other penalty imposed under this section, the failure to provide information required on registration forms of the Department of Justice, or the provision of false information, is a crime punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a period not exceeding one year (Abbrev.).
Probation Sentence: Probation is a period of supervision in lieu of actual jail or prison. Probation is allowed in PC 290(b) and 290.018 cases but only if unusual circumstance exist that would serve the interest of justice to not incarcerate the defendant. Certainly, registration as a sex offender is a condition of probation (among many other probation terms that must be followed in order to fullfill the conditions of probation PC 290.018(c)).
PC 1170(h) Sentencing: If the defendant is convicted of failure to register as a sex offender, and he or she is not granted probation, then the defendant's sentence must be served in a state prison (as opposed to a local county jail), and no part of that prison sentence may be suspended or split.
CIMT: Failure to register as a sex offender is not a crime involving moral turpitude unless the defendant willfully failed to register (as opposed to negligent failure to register). Crimes involving moral turpitude are considered morally wrong acts that carry special consequences for non U.S. citizens, licensed professionals, and more.
Three Strikes Law: Failure to register is not a strike offense under California's Three Strikes Law.
Good Behavior Credits: Both misdemeanor and felony convictions for failure to register as a sex offender under PC 290.018 are entitled to 50% credit for in custody time. This is true even if the underlying crime for which the defendant was required to register was considered serious or violent and was initially subject to less good time credit.
Defenses to PC 290(b)
Defenses to a charge of failure to register as a sex offender filed under PC 290.018, include involuntary intoxication, insufficient evidence to prove guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, insanity, inability to register because of a disability, statute of limitations, mistake of fact, and more.
If you or a loved one is charged with failure to register as a sex offender filed under PC 290(b), 290.018, or any 290 subsection, contact our sex crimes criminal defense attorneys today. Our attorneys are well versed in the law of PC 290 and 290.018 and we are available seven days a week to assist you. Call today!
Quick Legal Reference
Crime: Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
Code: PC 290(b) (CalCrim No. 1170)
Wobbler: Yes. PC 290(b) is a wobbler crime. This means that the crime may be charged as a felony when the defendant was previously convicted of a felony sex crime, or as a misdemeanor if the defendant was previously convicted of a misdemeanor sex crime.
Incarceration: Felony PC 290(b) jail sentence range: 16 months, 2 or 3 years jail. Misdemeanor jail sentence up to 1 day.
Probation: Probation may be available in felony PC 290(b) cases only if there are unusual circumstances (assuming other crimes or enhancements that bar a probation sentence are not present). Probation in misdemeanor cases does not require unusual circumstances. Whether or not a probation sentence is offered by the District Attorney, or granted by the court, depends on several factors, including the defendant's criminal history and the facts of the case.
PC 1170(h)): No. Felony PC 290(b) is not subject to PC 1170(h) sentencing. This means that any incarceration ordered after a felony conviction, that is not part of a probation sentence, must be served in state prison (as opposed to a county jail), and the prison sentence may not be split or suspended.
Strike: PC 290(b) is not a strike offense listed in California's Three Strikes law.
Credits: 50% good conduct credits available.
CIMT: PC PC 290(b) is not likely a crime involving moral turpitude if the defendant was negligent in failing to register as a sex offender.
CIMT: PC 290(b) is likely a crime involving moral turpitude if defendant intentionally failed to register as a sex offender, which means that an arrest or conviction could lead to the following:
Professional Licensing problems
Impeachment on credibility
Firearms: Felony PC 290(b) convictions prohibit a defendant from owning or possessing a firearm.
Bail: $50,000 (San Bernardino County)
Criminal Defense Lawyers
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Failure to register/misdemeanor sex offender PC 290.018(a)
Failure to register / sexually violent predator PC 290.018(f) & PC 290.001
Failure to register as a felony sex offender PC 290.018(b)
Failure to register as a sex offender PC 290.018
Failure to register as a sex offender for an out-of-state resident working or attending school in California PC 290.002
Failure to register as a mentally disorder sex offender PC 290.004
Failure to register as a sex offender for employees and students of colleges with campus police PC 290.009 & PC 290.01
Failure to register as a sex offender with multiple address PC 290.010
Failure to register sex offender as a transient PC 290.011
Failure to register as a sex offender on annual update PC 290.012
Failure to register as a sex offender after a change of address PC 290.013
Failure to register as a sex offender under a new name after name change PC 290.014
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