NEW Penal Code § 290 Sex Registration Bill Taking Effect on January 1, 2021

On October 6, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown approved SB-384.[1] SB-384 will take effect on January 1, 2021 and will make drastic changes to the “Sex Registration” requirements under Penal Code section 290. As the law currently stands, people convicted of specified sex offenses and certain acts of human trafficking are required to register with local law enforcement agencies while residing in the state or while attending or working in the state. If a person willfully fails to register as required, they can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the underlying offense.

SB-384 will significantly change the current sex registration system and will instead establish 3 tiers of registration based on specified criteria. Depending on the specific sex offense a person has been convicted of, this Bill would require registration for a period of at least 10 years, at least 20 years, and life, respectively, based on the tier the person is placed in. If the persons “tier” cannot be immediately determined, then the Department of Justice is permitted to place the person in a “tier-to-be-determined” category for a maximum of 24 months until the appropriate tier designation can be ascertained.

Beginning on July 1, 2021, this Bill would establish procedures for termination from the sex offender registry for tier one and tier two offenders who have completed the mandated minimum registration period, as required. In order to be considered for termination, this Bill would require the offender to “file a petition at the expiration of his or her minimum registration period.” Once a petition is filed, the District Attorney can then request a hearing on the petition if the offender has not fulfilled the requirement of successful tier completion, as required.

If a person is given a tier 3 designation based solely on his or her high-risk level (and not for being convicted of a specified tier 3 sex offense), this Bill would establish procedures for this person to petition the court for termination from the registry after 20 years from release from custody.

Prior to SB-384, in order to attempt to terminate the sex registration requirement, offenders generally have to petition to obtain a Certificate of Rehabilitation or obtain a full pardon from the Governor. SB-384 appears to provide a more direct method for offenders to attempt to obtain relief.

Please visit our blog in the coming week for more information on what sex offense convictions will generally be designated to the enumerated tiers pursuant to SB-384.

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