Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
Law, Punishment, & Defense
Failure to register as a sex offender, after 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), PC 290.018(a), & PC 290.018(b).
PC 290(b) Law
PC 290(b): Every person, who is convicted of a qualifying sex offense (see list below), while residing in California, or while attending school or working in California, shall register with the chief of police of the city in which the person is residing, or the sheriff of the county if the person is residing in an unincorporated area or city that has no police department, and, additionally, with the chief of police of a campus of the University of California, the California State University, or community college if the person is residing upon the campus or in any of its facilities, within five working days of coming into, or changing the person’s residence within, any city, county, or city and county, or campus in which the person temporarily resides, …unless the duty to register is terminated pursuant to PC 290.5 or as otherwise provided by law (PC 290(b) Abbrev.).
Note: PC 290(b) may be alternatively charged as PC 290.018(a) [Misdemeanor Failure to Register as a Sex Offender], or PC 290.018(b) [Felony Failure to Register as a Sex Offender]. The penalties for misdemeanor PC 290(b) are the same as the penalties for PC 290.018(a), and the penalties for felony PC 290(b) are the same as those for PC 290.018(b).
Annual Registration: 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).
Transient Sex Offender Registrant: If a defendant is currently homeless, he/she must still register as a sex offender within five working days of release from custody. The transient status of the sex offender must be registered every 30 days until he/she finds a residence (PC 290.011). Transient registration is in addition to the annual registration requirements for convicted sex offenders.
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 sex offender registration requirements may apply.
Qualifying Sex Offenses (PC 290(c))
A qualifying sex offense includes the crimes of rape, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a minor, oral copulation, kidnapping to commit a sex offense, sexual assault, sexual battery, gang rape, pimping, aggravated sexual assault of a child, indecent exposure, possession of child pornography, annoying or molesting a minor, sexual penetration, pandering, incest, continuous sexual abuse of child, forced prostitution, or any violation of PC 288.3, 288.4, 288.7, or any felony violation of PC 288.2. (PC 290(c) Abbrev.).
To prove failure to register as a sex offender per PC 290(b) the district attorney must prove:
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 violation 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 may be charged as a felony or as a misdemeanor per PC 290(b).
Generally, PC 290(b) is charged as a misdemeanor when the underlying conviction was also a misdemeanor, and PC 290(b) is charged as a felony when the underlying conviction was also a felony.
Felony Sentence: Felony convictions for failure to register as a sex offender 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, and who fails to verify his or her sex offender 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 as a sex offender pursuant to Section 290.011 (Transient Registrant), 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.
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, 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.).
Defenses to PC 290(b)
Defenses to a charge of failure to register as a sex offender filed under PC 290(b) include involuntary and severe intoxication, insufficient evidence to prove willful failure to register, mistake of fact, insanity, inability to register because of a disability, mistake of fact, and more.
If you or a loved one is charged with failure to register as a sex offender, PC 290(b), call our sex crimes criminal defense attorneys today. Our criminal defense attorneys are well versed in the law of PC 290(b), failure to register as a sex offender, we are available seven days a week to assist you. Call today!