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How to get removed from California’s sex offender registry

By Spodek Law Group | February 13, 2023

California Sex Offender Registry: New Law Allows Removal from List


The Sex Offender Registration Act in California requires individuals who are convicted of certain sexual offenses to register as sex offenders. However, the recent Senate Bill 384 has allowed some sex offenders to petition the court and request removal from the California Sex Offender Registry. This law goes into effect from January 1, 2021, and is aimed at improving public safety by allowing law enforcement agencies to focus on serious criminals.

How the Three-Tiered Sex Registration System Works

The new California Senate Bill (SB) 384 creates a three-tiered sex registration system that no longer requires lifetime registration for most offenses. The system places offenders into different tiers based on the specific sex offense they committed. While Tier 1 offenses, such as indecent exposure, are the least severe, Tier 3 offenses, such as rape, are the most severe and are for high-risk offenders.

Tier 1 requires registration as a sex offender for at least 10 years, while Tier 2 requires registration for at least 20 years. Tier 3 requires lifetime registration. Once an offender completes the minimum registration period as per their tier, they can petition for removal from the registry, except for those subject to lifetime registration.

Exclusion from the Megan’s Law Website

The California Department of Justice operates the Megan’s Law website to provide information about registered sex offenders to the public. Some California sex offenders can also ask to remove their names from this website.

Convicted offenders can request exclusion if their crime was not a Tier 3 offense or if they meet specific exclusion criteria. They can also seek removal by obtaining a certificate of rehabilitation or an expungement. However, individuals who are classified as sexually violent predators or who access the website illegally are not eligible for exclusion. Violation of this law can result in penalties, including imprisonment and/or fines.

Failure to Register as a Sex Offender

It is a crime for a convicted sex offender to willfully fail to register as one with the local police station. The penalties for failure to register depend on whether the original offense was a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor conviction for failure to register may result in imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year, while a felony conviction could lead to up to three years in state prison.


Our California criminal defense attorneys answer the following frequently asked questions regarding sex offender registration in California:

Can a person apply for removal from California’s sex offender registry?
How does the new three-tiered sex registration system work?
What about exclusion from the Megan’s Law website?
Is it a crime to fail to register as a sex offender?

How to Get Removed from the California Sex Offender Registry

One Simple Mistake Can Haunt You for Years

Landing on the California sex offender registry is one simple mistake that can haunt you for years. The restrictions under Megan’s Law impose severe limitations on where you can live, work, and with whom you can associate.

New Guidelines for Removal

Fortunately, California has recently enacted new guidelines under Senate Bill 384 to allow registered sex offenders to petition for their removal from the sex offender registry after serving their minimum registration period. As of January 1, 2021, the new guidelines state that:

Tier One sex offenders may be eligible for removal after 10 years.
Tier Two sex offenders may be eligible for removal after 20 years.
Tier Three offenders are still subject to lifetime registration requirements.

Petition for Removal

If you’re wondering how to petition for removal from the California sex offender registry, it’s important to note that you can only do so after completing the minimum registration period as determined by your defense tier. Once you meet this requirement, you can make a formal petition to the court with the assistance of your attorney.

Eligibility for Removal from the Registry Website

If you haven’t completed your minimum registration period, you may still be able to get your name removed from the California sex offender registry website. You can do this by submitting a Megan’s Law Exclusion Form to the California Department of Justice. However, eligibility for removal from the registry website depends on the offense you were convicted of and the requirements you have fulfilled. You may be eligible for removal from the registry website if you have:

A certificate of rehabilitation or an expungement
Committed an offense that did not involve penetration or oral copulation
Successfully completed the probation for the offense and the victim was the accused’s child, stepchild, grandchild, or sibling.
It’s important to note that your request for exclusion from the registry website will be denied if you are deemed a “sexually violent predator.”

Understanding Megan’s Law

Megan’s Law is named after 7-year-old Megan Kanka of Hamilton Township, New Jersey. In 1994, Megan was sexually assaulted, killed, and dumped in a park by her neighbor, who had two previous convictions for sexually assaulting young girls. Her parents’ outrage prompted them to petition the state of New Jersey for more active public notification of sex offenders, and Megan’s Law was enacted in just 89 days. Today, Megan’s Law is a federal legislation requiring states to register those who have committed sex crimes against children and disclose personal information about registered sex offenders to the public.

Megan’s Law in California

Megan’s Law is covered under California Penal Code 290.46, which requires law enforcement to notify the public about specific sex offenders who may pose a threat to public safety. You can search for information about registered sex offenders on the Office of Attorney General website, which includes the offender’s name, aliases, address, physical description, and photos, as well as a description of their offense and the year of their last conviction. If an offender is in violation of any court orders, the map on the website will show it.

Speaking with an Attorney

Navigating the California sex offender registry can be complicated, and the system is designed to be difficult to navigate. Working with a skilled sex crimes attorney can help you navigate the process, shorten the amount of time needed for removal, and save you from administrative headaches as you work to reclaim your identity. Remember, it’s crucial to act quickly and understand

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