Certain Sex Offenders Can Now Be Relieved of Lifetime Registration

As of July 1, 2021, certain California residents who are required to register as sex offenders under Penal Code section 290 no longer have to satisfy the lifetime registration requirement.

Eligible sex offenders fall into two categories:

  • Tier One Offenders: This tier includes offenders convicted of a misdemeanor sex offense. Possession of child pornography, indecent exposure, sexual battery, and arranging a meeting with a minor for a lewd purpose are all Tier One offenses. Certain non-violent felonies like sexual battery of an institutionalized victim, sodomy or oral copulation where no force is used, and acts of penetration with a foreign object are also Tier One offenses.
  • Tier Two Offenders: This tier includes some sex acts with a victim who is unable to give consent due to a mental disorder or a disability, lewd acts with a minor, and sodomy or oral copulation with a minor under the age of 14 where no force is used.

While most Tier Three offenders are not eligible to be relieved of the lifetime registration requirement, some Tier Three offenders can be eligible to petition for relief from registration after 20 years, depending on their risk level and other factors. Tier Three offenses include felony convictions for forcible rape, sex trafficking of minors, “gang” rape or other sex acts forced on an unwilling victim, sex offenses committed by force, felony possession of child pornography, and other violent sex offenses.

If you are eligible for relief, then you can petition the superior court once your mandated registration period expires. You can’t have any pending charges, be in custody, or be on parole or probation. If you are a Tier One offender, you must have registered for at least 10 years before you apply for relief. If you are a Tier Two offender, you must have registered for at least 20 years. There is an exception for Tier Two offenders that allows them to complete just 10 years of registration before the application for relief if they were under the age of 21 when they were convicted of the offense.

When you file a petition, the district attorney can request a hearing to challenge it. If the district attorney doesn’t request a hearing, then the petition will be granted if you meet all of the eligibility requirements. Once the petition is granted, you are no longer required to register as a sex offender for life.

If you think you might be eligible for relief of the lifetime registration requirement, then please call Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP at (800) 462-7160 or contact us online to set up a case consultation.