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Section 290 of the penal code is known as the Sex Offender Registration Act. It is the piece of California law that mandates that sex offenders must register with the government while residing in California. If you are accused of this crime, it is important to know what the law says as well as your legal rights.
What Does Section 290 of the Penal Code Illegalize?
Section 290 demands that anyone who has been convicted of a sex crime must register with the chief of police in the California city they are residing in. This does not only include individuals that live in a city. It also includes individuals that wish to work or attend school in a city. This mandate has no expiration date under the penal code. A sex offender must remain registered for the rest of his or her life.
Failing to register as a sex offender with the local police is considered a crime under this part of the penal code. When changing addresses, this must be done immediately. The law only allows for five working days to do so. This covers individuals that have been convicted of crimes like rape and sexual assault in California as well as any other federal or military court located anywhere with governance by the United States.
What Are the Penalties for Being Convicted Under Section 290?
Breaking the law under Section 290 by not registering as a sex offender is most often classified as a misdemeanor in the California legal system. In other circumstances, refusing to register could even be classified as a felony. If an individual is charged with breaking this law as a misdemeanor, it could result in up to a year in a California county jail. Felonies, however, could be punished with 16 months to three years in a state penitentiary.
Due to the fact that sex offenders are usually on some kind of probation, failing to register as a sex offender could also be viewed as breaking the terms of that probation. This could result in a person being forced to finish a previous prison term that was suspended in exchange for probation.
How Can Our Law Firm Help?
Despite the fact that this law is sometimes only prosecuted as a misdemeanor, breaking it can have very serious consequences especially considering the fact that the accused may already have a serious record or be on probation for other crimes. Having quality legal representation can help assure that a defendant is able to reach the best possible outcome.
There are certain strategies that a defense lawyer can use to help a defendant avoid prosecution under this law. For example, the accused may have not been made aware of that fact that he or she had to register in California. Alternatively, the accused may have tried to register but that fact is not reflected in the public record due to human error or incompetence of the local police department the defendant reported to.
Overall, a person accused of this crime certainly needs the expertise of an attorney with plenty of experience with section 290 of the California penal code.