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California sex offenders no longer on registry for life

In a recent bill signed by the governor, some sex offenders in California will no longer be listed on the sex offender registry for their entire life. This will remove an estimated 90 percent of offenders from the current registry—a significant change after 70 years of keeping an offender on the registry for their lifetime.

The thinking behind removing offenders from the registry stems from the list being too large to accurately analyze who is at risk for being a re-offender. To date, the list has around 100,000 sex offenders, and California was one of only four states to uphold a sex offender lifetime registration.

The new sex offender registry system

The hope for the changes to the registry is for police to narrow in on violent sex offenders instead of wasting resources on those who pose no threat of repeating a sex crime. The new system will utilize three tiers of offenders:

  • Tier 1 will allow those charged with misdemeanor sex crimes to petition to be removed from the list after 10 years—an estimated 65,000 people would be in this tier.
  • Tier 2 contains lewd and lascivious sex crimes with minors and will allow offenders to petition for removal after 20 years—this tier would have about 24,000 people.
  • Tier 3 is the most serious and contains those with felony charges, repeat offenders, sex traffickers of minors, and sex crimes involving children 10 or younger—this tier remains on the registry for life with no option to petition for removal and has around 8,200 people.

Removing yourself from the registry

Starting in 2021, Tier 1 and 2 sex offenders can petition to have their names removed from the public-facing and police registries as long as they meet specific criteria.

  • Only certain sex crimes will allow for removal from the list
  • It’s been 10-20 years since they were released from prison
  • Have not committed any violent crimes or felonies since their original sentence
  • Have not committed any serious or felony sex crimes since their original conviction

Find out if petitioning for removal from the registry in 2021 is right for your situation. If you have questions about qualifying for removal or have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony sex crime in the state of California, you can explore how these upcoming changes may affect your future.

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