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Failure to Register as a Sex Offender Law & Defense

California Penal Code 290(b), 290.018, & More

Failure to register as a sex offender after being ordered to do so as part of a conviction for a qualifying sex offense is a crime in California. Information on the crime of failure to register as a sex offender is found at California Penal Codes 290(b) & 290.018. 

Failure to register as a sex offender may also be a violation of probation for defendants who are still on probation after a guilty plea to a qualifying sex offense. For offenders whose probationary period has ended the district attorney may still file criminal charges against the defendant under PC 290(b) or PC 290.018 because the duty to register is a lifetime obligation (exceptions may apply for defendant's who receive a certificate of rehabilitation and pardon pursuant to PC 4852).

The duty to register as a sex offender arises after a guilty plea to a qualifying sex offense or after a conviction for a qualifying sex offense. Qualifying sex offenses are listed in California Penal Code section 290. PC 290 offenses include:

"...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."

Most of the crimes listed above are felonies and are considered Strikes under California Three Strikes Law. With only a few exceptions ,the penal codes listed above represent the sex crimes of assault to commit rape, rape, lewd acts on minors, indecent exposure, sexual battery, forced sexual conduct, pornography of minors, pimping by force or of minors, pandering by force or of minors, prostitution by force or of minors, and annoying or molesting children.

How to register as a sex offender PC 290(b)

A defendant must appear in person to register with the local police department (or Sheriff's Department) of the city in which he/she resides. Registration must be completed within five working days after release from custody or on probation. A person also has five working days to complete sex offender registration if he/she changes his/her residence. The defendant's criminal defense attorney may assist in the registration process.

If a defendant is currently homeless, he/she must still register as a sex offender within five working days of release from custody. Rather than including his/her address when registering, the defendant must register as a transient. The defendant must then continue to register as a transient sex offender every thirty days thereafter until he/she finds a residence (PC 290.011)

All sexual registrants must update their registration annually, within five working days of their birthday (Penal Code 290.012). Those sex offenders who are deemed sexually violent predators must update their registration no less than every 90 days (Penal Code 290.001).

Registration under PC 290(b) includes photographing and fingerprinting the defendant, and taking his/her name, address and telephone number, his/her employer address, and license plate number of any vehicle registered to him/her (PC 290(e)(2)).

Failure to register as a sex offender PC 290(b) & 290.018

To prove that the defendant failed to register as sex offender the district attorney must prove that:

  • The defendant was previously convicted of a qualifying sex crime, and
  • The defendant resided in a California city, and
  • The defendant knew that he had a duty under penal code 290 to register as a sex offender within five working days of moving or on the birthday of the sex offender, and
  • The defendant willfully failed to regiter as a sex offender with the police or local law enforcment

Penalty, punishment, and sentences for PC 290 violations

The crime of failure to register as sex offender is may be charged as a felony or as a misdemeanor under PC 290(b).

Willful failure to register following a felony conviction of a qualifying offense is classified as felony. (PC 290(g)(2)). Felony convictions of failure to register carry up to a three prison sentence with 50% reduction for any good time credit.

Any person who is required to register as a sex offender based on a misdemeanor conviction, or juvenile adjudication, who willfully violates any requirement of the act is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year (PC 290.018(a)).

Both misdemeanor and felony convictions for failure to register as a sex offender under PC 290.018 are entitled to 50% credit for in-custody time. This is true even if the underlying crime for which the defendant was required to register was considered serious or violent and subject to less good time credit.

More information on penalties and sentences for a particular PC 290 violation is covered at right side of this page.

Defenses to failure to register as a sex offender 

Defenses to a charge of failure to register as a sex offender filed filed under PC 290.018, include involuntary intoxication, insufficient evidence to prove guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, insanity, inability to register because of a disability, statute of limitations, mistake of fact, and more.

If you or a loved one is charged with failure to register as a sex offender filed under PC 290(b), 290.018, or other 290 subsection, contact our criminal defense attorneys today.

Our attorneys are well versed in the law of PC 290 and 290.018. Our consultations are provided at no cost. 100% of our criminal defense attorneys are dedicated to criminal defense and we are available 24/7 to answer all of questions. Call today!

909.913.3138

Related crimes and services for PC 290 registrants

  • Certificates of Rehabilitations & Pardons PC 4852
  • Expungement of sex offenses PC 1203.4
  • Removal from the sex offender website PC 290.5
  • Warrant recalls and violations of probation for PC 290
  • Failure to register/misdemeanor sex offender PC 290.018(a)
  • Failure to register / sexually violent predator PC 290.018(f) & PC 290.001
  • Failure to register as a felony sex offender PC 290.018(b)
  • Failure to register as a transient PC 290.011

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PC 290.018: Failure to Register as a Sex Offender

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PC 290 Violations

  • Failure to register as a sex offender PC 290.018
  • Failure to register as a sexually violent predator 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 disorderd 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 address 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 name change PC 290.014

Penalties for failure to register: PC 290.018

  • Any person who is required to register under the Act based on a misdemeanor conviction or juvenile adjudication who willfully violates any requirement of the act is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year (PC 290.018(a))
  • Except as provided in subdivisions (f), (h), and (j), any person who is required to register under the act based on a felony conviction or juvenile adjudication who willfully violates any requirement of the act or who has a prior conviction or juvenile adjudication for the offense of failing to register under the act and who subsequently and willfully violates any requirement of the act is guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, or two or three years (PC 290.018(b))
  • If probation is granted or if the imposition or execution of sentence is suspended, it shall be a condition of the probation or suspension. (PC 290.018(c))
  • Any person who has ever been adjudicated a sexually violent predator, as defined in Section 6600 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and who fails to verify his or her registration every 90 days as required pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 290.012, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison or in a county jail not exceeding one year (PC 290.018(f))
  • Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (f), any person who is required to register or reregister pursuant to Section 290.011 and willfully fails to comply with the requirement that he or she reregister no less than every 30 days is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for at least 30 days, but not exceeding six months. A person who willfully fails to comply with the requirement that he or she reregister no less than every 30 days shall not be charged with this violation more often than once for a failure to register in any period of 90 days. Any person who willfully commits a third or subsequent violation of the requirements of Section 290.011 that he or she reregister no less than every 30 days shall be punished in accordance with either subdivision (a) or (b) PC 290.018(g))
  • Any person who fails to provide proof of residence as required by paragraph (5) of subdivision (a) of Section 290.015, regardless of the offense upon which the duty to register is based, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months (PC 290.018(h))
  • In addition to any other penalty imposed under this section, the failure to provide information required on registration and reregistration forms of the Department of Justice, or the provision of false information, is a crime punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a period not exceeding one year. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to limit or prevent prosecution under any applicable provision of law (PC 290.018(j))
  • Whenever any person is released on parole or probation and is required to register under the act but fails to do so within the time prescribed, the parole authority or the court, as the case may be, shall order the parole or probation of the person revoked (PC 290.018(k))


California Failure to register as a sex offender PC 290(b) & 290.018 Law & Defense

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