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Changes to California Sex Offender Laws – 2021

California was one of the four states that required sex offenders to register for life. After decades of maintaining this registry, the list of sex offenders had become so large that it was not particularly helpful to law enforcement officials. Many of the individuals included on the registry never committed repeat offenses, and had only committed minor offenses to start with, and yet, they were faced with the consequences of being included on a sex offender registry, which can be extreme. Many sex offenders are faced with great difficulties when trying to obtain a job or to find housing.

With a proposed enactment date in the year 2021, the state is now moving away from this policy, and is implementing a new three-tier system, which will make it so that the vast majority of registered sex offenders will have the opportunity to be removed from the registry after a span of either ten or twenty years from the date which they were released from prison, so long as they have not committed an additional serious crime.

How Does the New Three-tier System Work?

Under the new law, the first tier would be made up of the individuals who had committed the least serious offenses. This would include misdemeanor possession of child pornography, misdemeanor sexual battery, and indecent exposure, among other crimes. The people in this category will have the ability to petition to be removed from the registry after ten years. Around 65,000 of California’s 100,000 registered sex offenders would fall into this category. Some individuals in this group will have already served their ten years, and be eligible to be removed.

The second tier includes more serious offenses, such as lewdness with a minor under 14. These individuals will be eligible to petition for removal from the registry once they have been on it for twenty years following their release from prison. This group includes the next largest number of individuals on the registry, with close to 24,000 individuals.

In each of these cases, a judge will assess the petition for removal and have the ability to grant or deny that petition.

In the cases of the most serious sex offenders, such as those who have committed rape, or engaged in the sex trafficking of minors, these people would still be required to remain on the registry for life.

Removal From the Sex Offenders Registry

For many people who suffered the consequences of being listed on the sex offender registry for years or decades without ever committing a repeat offense, the new law will provide the opportunity to move on. Given the enormous impact the sex offender registry can have on a person’s life, it is highly important for these individuals to understand how the new law will impact them.

Call Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox LLP for Your Free Criminal Defense Consultation

If you have been accused of a sex-related offense, or have been convicted of a sex-related offense and wonder whether the new law impacts you, contact an experienced criminal law attorney. Given what is at stake, it is important to find a strong advocate. The experienced criminal law attorneys at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP believe everyone should be treated fairly under the law, and we are ready to fight to ensure that your rights are protected. Call us today at 909-798-3300 for a free consultation.

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Stephen Levine, is a Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Defense — an honor achieved by only the top criminal law attorneys in California. Mr. Levine has over 40 years of experience in criminal defense and family law serving Southern California, and is a highly regarded Super Lawyer as well as AV Rated attorney.