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Sex Registration Laws (PC 290) in California

California Penal Code 290: Failure to Register as a Sex Offender

Legal Definition: If you are convicted of specified sex offenses, then you are required to register as a Sex Offender with Local Law Enforcement every year on your birthday for a specified period of time. Failing to register, as ordered by law, is a new law violation. It can also be a violation of probation if you are still on probation for the offense that leads to your registration.There are several charges that lead to mandatory sex registration:“…rape, or any act punishable under Section 286, 288, 288a, or 289, Section 207 or 209 committed with intent to violate Section 261, 286, 288, 288a, or 289, Section 220, except assault to commit mayhem, Section 243.4, paragraph (1), (2), (3), (4), or (6), or subdivision (a) of Section 261, paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 262 involving the use of force or violence for which the person is sentenced to the state prison, Section 264.1, 266, or 266c, subdivion (b) of Section 266h, subdivision (b) of Section 266i, Section 266j, 267, 269, 285, 286, 288, 288a, 288.3, 288.4, 288.5, 288.7, 289, or 311.1, subdivision (b), (c), or (d) of Section 311.2, Section 311.3, 311.4, 311.10, 311.11, or 647.6, former Section 647a, subdivision (c) of Section 653f, subdision 1 or 2 of Section 314, any offense involving lewd or lascivious conduct under Section 272, or any felony violation of Section 288.2; any statutory predecessor that includes all elements of one of the above-mentioned offenses; or any person who since that date has been or is hereafter convicted of the attempt or conspiracy to commit any of the above-mentioned offenses.”To show you failed to register as a Sex Offender under PC 290(B) or PC 290.018, the prosecution must prove:

  • You were previously convicted of a qualifying sex crime (listed above);
  • You resided in a city in California;
  • You knew that you had a duty under PC 290 to register as a sex offender within five working days of moving or on your birthday
  • You willfully failed to register as a sex offender with the police or local law enforcement.

What does this mean?

If the crime you were convicted of was a felony sex offense, then any failure to register is likewise a felony. Similarly, if your underlying criminal offense causing you to register as a sex offender is a misdemeanor, any failure to register is also a misdemeanor offense.

To register, you must personally appear to register with the local police department (or the Sheriff’s Department) of your residing city. Registration must be completed within five working days after your release from custody or probation. If you move, you have five working days to complete sex offender registration at your new police station.

Even if you are currently homeless, you must still register as a sex offender within five working days of your release from custody. When registering, you should register as a transient if you are homeless. You must continue to register as a transient/homeless sex offender every 30 days until you find a more permanent residence.

All individuals required to register must update their registration every year, within five working days of their birthday. If you are classified as a sexually violent predator, you must update your registration no less than every 90 days.

During registration, it usually involves capturing your photograph and fingerprints, as well as recording your name, address, telephone number, employer address, and license plate number of any registered vehicle.


If you are convicted of a previous felony sex case, and you fail to register, you could be sentenced to State Prison for upwards of 16 months, two or three years. If your underlying sex case was a misdemeanor, you could be sentenced to County Jail for up to one year. You would be required to serve 50% of that time.In addition, most underlying sex cases that are felonies are usually strike offenses. That means, that if you fail to register on a previous felony sex case, then you could pick up a new felony case, which will double your exposure because of your strike. Thus, you could be sentenced to six years in state prison and must serve 80% of that time in custody.Other Similar offenses under this section:

  • Failure to register as a sex offender PC 290.018
  • Failure to register as a sexually violent predator (SVP) PC 290.001
  • Failure to register as a sex offender for an out-of-state resident working or attending school in California PC 290.002
  • Failure to register as a mentally disordered sex offender PC 290.004
  • Failure to register as a sex offender for employees and students of colleges with campus police PC 290.009 & PC 290.01
  • Failure to register as a sex offender with multiple addresses PC 290.010
  • Failure to register sex offender as a transient PC 290.011
  • Failure to register as a sex offender on annual update PC 290.012
  • Failure to register as a sex offender after a change of address PC 290.013
  • Failure to register as a sex offender under a new name after a legal name change PC 290.014

Common Defenses

  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Insufficient Evidence
  3. Violation of your Rights
  4. False Accusations
  5. Coerced Confessions

Asserting that you were unaware of your obligation to register as a Sex Offender typically proves to be an implausible defense. This is because you are typically tasked with signing a Plea Form that explicitly outlines this requirement. Furthermore, it is usually stated by the Judge on record, and it is highly probable that your attorney has also discussed this matter with you. Hence, a more effective defense could revolve around a claim of being incapacitated and unable to register during the stipulated dates. Alternatively, you could contend that you did fulfill the registration requirement, but a clerical error led to its non-processing.

Call Today

Facing charges related to Sex Crimes, especially under PC 290, can be an overwhelming experience. The repercussions of a conviction, particularly for failing to register, are far-reaching and can profoundly affect your life for many years to come. A blemish on your record can hinder any potential future efforts to cease registering, typically requiring you to maintain an impeccable record for a span of 7-10 years before you can even petition the court.

In situations as critical as these, you need a seasoned attorney well-versed in the intricacies of Sex Crime defenses. Our esteemed attorney, with a specialization in all Sex Crimes, including PC 290, has a track record of successfully defending numerous clients. We adopt a strategic approach, often focusing on technical errors and oversights in the charges as robust defense avenues.

If you or a loved one is facing such charges, don’t hesitate. Secure the assistance of our PC 290 Ontario attorney, known for their in-depth knowledge and unwavering dedication to their clients. Take the first step towards safeguarding your future by scheduling a free initial consultation with us. Call Inland Empire Criminal Defense today at 909-939-7126. Our office, located conveniently in Ontario, CA, is here to serve and guide you every step of the way.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Yes, Inland Empire Criminal Defense offers free consultations. This is part of our commitment to providing accessible and transparent legal services to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

We offer both in-person and over-the-phone consultations to accommodate your preferences and needs. Whether you’re in Riverside, San Bernardino, or Los Angeles County, we ensure that you can access our legal services in the way that suits you best.

Our office is typically closed on weekends. However, we do make exceptions for meetings by special arrangement. Our commitment is to be as accommodating as possible to meet the unique needs of our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Our legal services are specifically tailored to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties. For cases outside these areas, we recommend consulting to find appropriate legal assistance. Our focused approach allows us to provide specialized defense catering to the unique legal landscape of these counties.

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