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What Happens If I Fail to Register as a Sex Offender?


If you are required to register as a sex offender in California, and you fail to do so, it is considered a crime. California’s Sex Offender Registration Act makes it mandatory for sex crime convicts who live in the state to register with their city’s or county’s police department where they live each year or every time they move to a new residence.

Failure to register as a sex offender is a crime in California. So any person who willfully violates any requirement of the act is guilty.

If the original sex crime conviction was a misdemeanor or a juvenile adjudication, then failure to register is considered a misdemeanor for the first violation and a felony for every subsequent offense. On the other hand, if the original conviction was a felony, failure to register is often a felony.

A misdemeanor conviction of failure to register is punishable by a maximum jail sentence of one year. A felony conviction of failure to register results in a prison sentence of 16 months, two years, or three years.

Any person who is required to register or re-register and willfully fails to comply with the requirement that he/she reregisters no less than every 40 days shall be punished by a maximum jail sentence of six months (40-day sentence minimum). Any individual who has ever been adjudicated a sexually violent predator and fails to verify his/her registration every 90 days shall be punished by a maximum prison sentence for one year.

Anyone who fails to provide proof of residence is guilty of a misdemeanor, leading to a jail sentence of up to six months. Lastly, any person who fails to provide information required for registration and reregistration is a misdemeanor, punishable by a jail sentence of up to one year.

Remember, in order to be convicted of failure to register, you must commit a “willful” act. So if you didn’t willfully fail to register—or if you attempted to register but your information wasn’t received or got lost—your case could be thrown out or your charges reduced.

For more information about sex crimes, contact Appel & Morse and schedule a free criminal consultation with our Santa Barbara criminal defense attorney today.

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