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Failure to Register as a Sex Offender in California - Penal Code 290 PC

Review of the Crime of PC 290 Failing to Register

California Penal Code 290 PC is the statute that makes it a crime for a sex offender failing to register with their local police station.

The state of California mandates that a sex offender registers every year on their birthday or when they move to another address.

Failure to Register as a Sex Offender in California - Penal Code 290 PC
Penal Code 290 PC makes it a crime for a sex offender to fail to resister with local law enforcement.

The Sex Offender Registration Act, referenced under Penal Code 290 PC, allows law enforcement to track the residence of sex offenders through mandatory registration.

The act aims to keep communities safe by allowing the public to look up information about offenders living in their neighborhoods.

Despite the legal implications, some offenders do not register in time.

Whether this action is deliberate or due to a lack of knowledge, it has long-term consequences on your criminal record. In some cases, it also leads to the loss of freedom. 

Failing to register as a sex offender can lead to a misdemeanor or felony charge, depending on the original sex offense.

Our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers are providing more detailed information below

Registration Requirements

Under Penal Code 290 PC, any person charged with certain sex crimes must register as a sex offender. Failure to register within a specific timeframe is a separate crime.

All sex offenders in California must register with the police station in their city as long as they live in the state.

Sex Offender Registration Requirements
Anyone convicted of certain sex crimes will be ordered to register within a certain timeframe.

If the area does not have a police department, offenders register with the sheriff or the county.

Students who live in the University of California's housing facilities, the State University, or a community college must also register with their campus police chief.

It is not enough to register once with the local authorities. Sex offenders must also register:

  • every year, within five business days after their birthday;
  • any time an offender relocates, they must renew their registration within five working days of the move.;
  • transient offenders must register every thirty days with local authorities, including five days after their birthday.

A related law to Penal Code 290 failing to register as a sex offender includes Penal Code 667.71 habitual sex offender law.

Mandatory Sex Registration

Registering as a sex offender is the result of a court sentence and can either be mandatory or discretionary.

Mandatory registration incurs a lifetime obligation for the offender to register with law enforcement if they commit specific crimes under Penal Code Section 290c.

These crimes involve sexual violence, the abuse of minors, and other violent acts involving the murder, kidnapping, or assault to commit:

Discretionary Sex Registration

In some cases, the crime committed by a defendant does not fall under subdivision (c) of Penal Code 290 PC.  

However, the court may still deem the offense worthy of a lifetime sex offender registration.

The case must meet the criteria of being the result of a sexual compulsion or sexual gratification. The court bases its decision on multiple factors, such as:

  • type of offense,
  • history of the offender,
  • age of victim,
  • motive behind the crime.

Prosecution criteria for failure to register

A person cannot receive a failure to register charge without meeting specific criteria.

  • previous conviction: the defendant must have a court conviction of a sex crime mentioned in subdivision c of Penal Code 290 PC;
  • residence: if the defendant lived in California;
  • lack of knowledge: the offender must prove they did not know that they had a duty to register;
  • intent: proof that the offender deliberately avoided registering with law enforcement despite knowledge of their duty.

Penalties for Failure to Register

PC 290 failure to register as a sexual offender incurs a misdemeanor or felony charge that will depend on the original sex crime.

Penalties for Failure to Register in California
PC 290 failing to register penalties will depend on the specific type of original sex crime.

If convicted of a misdemeanors sex crime, the penalties for failing to register are:

  • up to one year in county jail,
  • fine of up to $1,000,
  • summary probation.

If convicted of a felony sex crime, then it's punishable by:

  • 16 months, two or three years in jail,
  • fine up to $10,000,
  • felony probation.

Defenses for PC 290 Failing to Register as Sex Offender

If you were accused of failing to register as a sex offender in violation of PC 290, we may be able to get the charges reduced or dismissed. Some common defenses include: 

  • lack of knowledge,
  • not a willful act.

In order to be convicted of failing to register, it must be proven you knew you had a legal duty to register. Perhaps we can make an argument you did not know you were supposed to register.

Further, the prosecutor has to prove you willfully failed to register. Maybe we can prove you did not act willingly or on purpose.

The courts take these failing to register as a sex offender cases seriously, which is why you need a criminal defense team knows what approach works best for your case. 

Criminal Defense for Failing to Register as Sex Offender Cases
Contact our office for a consultation and legal advice.

With the help of our skilled defense attorneys, you can increase your chances at a favorable outcome.

With decades of experience, we can help you avoid the serious charges that come with failure to register.

Our legal experts take on your case aggressively, crafting a strategy as unique as your case and always with your best interests in mind.

Eisner Gorin LLP is a top-rated criminal defense law firm serving people throughout Southern California.

Our main LA County office is located at 14401 Sylvan St #112 Van Nuys, CA 91401.

Call our firm at (877) 781-1570 to discuss your legal options and fight the charge. 

We speak English, Russian, Armenian, and Spanish.

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