WHAT IS SB 384 & DOES IT CHANGE P.C. 290 REGISTRATION?

What is the SB 384?

California has required anyone convicted of a sex crime to register as a sex offender for life for years now. Under this system, the punishment was the same, whether you were convicted of a minor offense like indecent exposure or rape. As a result, it became overwhelming for law enforcement to use the registry efficiently to identify possible suspects and generate leads during an investigation. Senate Bill 384 was introduced in 2017 to amend Sections 290 of the Penal Code relating to the registration of sexual offenders.

The existing law demands that persons convicted of certain sex offenses and human trafficking for purposes of committing various sex offenses to register with their local law enforcement agencies. Failing to register is considered an offense, typically a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the underlying offense.

Existing law further outlines that the Department of Justice should make public information on the registered sex offenders on an internet website. Also, such information provided should include, among other things, whether the offender was subsequently incarcerated for another felony. In addition to that, the law similarly sanctions that a person files an application for the exclusion from the internet website and establishes requirements for such exclusion.

The introduction of this Bill will help refocus the registry on high-risk sex offenders rather than clumping them together with low-level offenders and causing significant stigmatization.

Key changes brought about by SB 384

Generally:

Current laws in place require that all the essential information stored in the state or local criminal offender record information systems be recorded in the form of particularized data elements, including the offense. This Bill would therefore require that such information include sentence enhancement data elements.

Existing law also establishes the Sex Offender Management Board within the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. It further demands that the board addresses issues, concerns, and problems related to the community management of adult sex offenders. However, this Bill would expect that the board address any issues, concerns, and problems emanating from the community management of all sex offenders and not just the adult sex offenders.

This Bill would integrate additional changes to Section 290 of the Penal Code proposed by AB 484 to be operative as specified.

As of 1st January 2021:

This bill would establish three tiers of registration for adult offenders and two tiers for juvenile registrants based on the specified criteria of sex offenses.

For adult registrants, the three tiers are based on the following criteria:

  • Tier 1: Registration for 10 years.
  • Tier 2: Registration for 20 years.
  • Tier 3: Risk assessment level for 20 years or lifetime registration 

For individuals who were adjudicated of their registrable offenses in juvenile court, the mandatory minimum registration periods include:

  • Tier 1: 5 years
  • Tier 2: 10 years

Further, the Bill would permit the Department of Justice to place a person in a tier-to-be-determined category for a maximum of 24 months if his or her appropriate tier designation cannot be promptly determined.

 As of 1st July 2021:

The Bill shall establish the proper procedures for termination from the sex offender registry for a registered sex offender who is a tier-one or tier-two offender and completes their mandated minimum registration period under the stated conditions.

The new law would require that the offender file a petition upon the expiration of their minimum registration period. Further, the Bill would authorize the district attorney to request a hearing on the petition if the petitioner has not satisfied the requisite requirements of successful completion as required.

Finally, the Bill would establish processes for a person obligated to register as a tier-three offender based entirely on their risk level to petition the court for termination from the registry after 20 years from the release of custody provided specific criteria are met.

As of 1st January 2022:

Presently, all sex offenders registered under Penal Code 290 are posted publicly on Megan’s Law website. SB 384 would amend Penal Code section 290.46 to include the elimination of specific exclusion criteria. As a result, only registrants who meet the following requirements will be eligible for exclusion on or after January 1, 2022:

  • An offense for which the registrant is currently on probation for or has successfully completed probation
  • The registrant was the victim’s parent, stepparent, sibling, or grandparent
  • The crime did not involve either oral copulation or penetration of either the victim or the registrant

Unfortunately, a conviction for a sex crime in California is life crippling. The best way to protect yourself from mandatory registration as a sex offender is to fight the criminal charges aggressively. At 290 Hero, our team of able criminal defense lawyers can help you protect your reputation and future. Call us today to schedule your free consultation or send us an email at don@cd-heroes.com.