Penal Code section 290 Sex Offender – Failure to Register - NO JAIL Resolution!

Our client is required to register as a sex offender pursuant to Penal Code section 290. He was recently arrested by law enforcement for his failure to register as a sex offender after moving back into the state over three years ago. Our client was charged with a violation of Penal Code section 290(b), “Failure to Register After Address Change.” Our client quickly hired our office to defend him on this charge.

In 1996, while being represented by other counsel, our client pled to a violation of Penal Code section 288(a), “Lewd or Lascivious Acts with a Child.” As a condition of his sentence, our client was ordered to register as a sex offender pursuant to the provisions of Penal Code section 290.

After his offense, our client moved out of state and registered with the local police department of his new city, in accordance with the sex offender registration requirements. However, when our client moved back to California, he failed to register his change of address, in violation of Penal Code section 290(b).

Given that his previous conviction to Penal Code section 288(a), is classified as a serious and violent felony, if our client was convicted of this new charge, he would face a maximum of six (6) years in state prison! Given this high exposure, the district attorney’s original offer to resolve the case was three (3) years in state prison.

Our office began defending the case by obtaining the transcript of his plea for the underlying Penal Code section 288(a) offense from 1996. After reviewing the transcript of the plea, we discovered that at the time of our client’s plea, he was not advised that the requirement to register as a sex offender pursuant to Penal Code section 290 was a lifetime requirement, in accordance with the holding in People v. Zaidi (2007) 147 Cal. App. 4th 1470. Thus, we wrote a motion seeking to declare his prior conviction constitutionally invalid. We further wrote an equities package to the prosecution detailing our client’s great reputation as a contractor and his contributions to his community.

Our office also wrote a motion inviting the court to strike the prior strike offense (the 1996 Penal Code section 288(a)) under Penal Code section 1385 and People v. Romero (1996) 13 Cal. App. 4th 497.

Once in court on the matter, attorney Steve Escovar, presented the district attorney’s office with both of the motions and the equities package, and requested a no jail offer and the opportunity for our client to later withdraw the offense and allow our client to plea to a related misdemeanor offense if he successfully satisfied the conditions of his sentence. The district attorney’s office, originally wanting three years state prison, was reluctant to agree to a no jail offer. Thus, given his familiarity with the judge in the courtroom, attorney Steve Escovar suggested they speak to the court regarding a resolution.

After presenting the judge with the motions and the equities, the court agreed that a no jail offer with 200 hours of community service would be a just resolution of the matter. The prosecutor then agreed to the no jail offer and our client pled to the offense.

This is an amazing result for our client that was facing a state prison sentence!

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