If you are required to register under California's sex offender registration law, and you fail to do so, then you may be convicted of the California crime of “failure to register as a sex offender.”1
California's Sex Offender Registration Act (also known as “Megan's Law”) requires anyone who lives in California after being convicted of a California sex crime to register with the police of the city or county where they live. This registration has to be renewed
- every year, within five (5) working days of the person's birthday, and
- every time that person moves to a new address.2
Knowingly and willfully failing to meet this requirement—even just one time—will lead to charges under California Penal Code 290(b).3
Examples of individuals who might find themselves facing charges of failure to register as a sex offender include:
- A former high school teacher who was convicted of Penal Code 261.5 statutory rape for having sex with a teenage student moves to a new city and decides not to register her new address with the authorities;
- A man who was convicted of California rape after a date rape incident in college stops registering annually under Penal Code 290 PC because he wants to put that chapter of his life behind him; and
- A former gang member who was convicted of human trafficking under California Penal Code 236.1 decides not to register after a move so that his new neighbors won't mistakenly think he is a pedophile.
If the sex crime conviction that requires you to register as a sex offender was a California misdemeanor, then failure to register as a sex offender under Penal Code 290(b) will also be a misdemeanor—with a maximum county jail sentence of one (1) year.4
But if the conviction that subjects you to the California sex offender registration requirement was a felony OR this is not your first conviction under Penal Code 290(b) PC, then failure to register will be a felony in California law.
It will carry a potential state prison sentence of sixteen (16) months, two (2) years or three (3) years.5
If you are required to register as a sex offender in California, you have no doubt already been punished more than enough for your transgressions.
Adding penalties for failure to register as a sex offender on top of all that can be outrageously harsh—and even California prosecutors and juries understand that.
You may be able to get failure to register charges reduced or even dismissed with the help of one of the following common legal defenses:
- You didn't willfully fail to register;
- You attempted to register, but your information was lost or not received; and/or
- You were falsely accused.
In this article, our California sex crimes defense lawyers explain the penalties for—and defenses to—failing to register as a sex offender by addressing the following:
If, after reading this article, you have additional questions, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.
The legal definition of failure to register as a sex offender under Penal Code 290 PC consists of certain “elements of the crime.” These are the facts that the prosecutor must prove in order for you to be guilty of this offense.
The elements of the legal definition of California failure to register are:
- You have been convicted of a California sex crime for which registration is required under Penal Code 290(c) PC;
- You resided in California;
- You knew you had a duty to register as a sex offender; and
- You willfully failed to register or update your registration as required by Megan's Law.6
Let's take a closer look at some of the terms in these elements in order to better understand this offense.
Required to register
Of course, you can only be convicted of failure to register if you were required to register in the first place.
Penal Code 290 PC, California's sex offender registration act, requires those who have been declared California sex offenders to register their identifying information with their local law enforcement agency as long as they
- work, or
- attend school
These unfortunate individuals have to register:
- every year, within five (5) working days of their birthday, and
- every time they change their address, within five (5) working days of the date when they move.8
Example: Marvin is required to register as a sex offender because of a conviction for violating California child pornography laws. For the past several years he has been living in Riverside and updating his registration annually.
After a long period of unemployment, Marvin gets a job offer in Sacramento and moves there.
When he lived in Riverside, Marvin had been harassed repeatedly by some neighbors who knew about his criminal history from the sex offender registry.
So after his move, Marvin chooses not to register with the Sacramento police department, hoping to avoid similar “negative publicity” in his new home.
Marvin is guilty of failing to register as a sex offender for making this choice.
Also, when a California registered sex offender moves, s/he has to notify both the law enforcement agency in the place where s/he is moving to—and the agency in the place where s/he is moving from.9
Convictions that lead to sex offender registration requirement
The list of California crimes that can lead to the California sex offender registration requirement is long. But some of the most common sex crimes on the list include:
- most violations of California rape law under the California Penal Code's 261 sections,
- Penal Code 243.4 PC sexual battery,
- most sex crimes involving minors, such as lewd acts with a child under Penal Code 288 PC, California child pornography crimes, and aggravated and/or continuous sexual abuse of a child under Penal Codes 288.5 and 269,
- forced non-intercourse sex acts such as oral copulation by force or fear or Penal Code 289 forcible penetration with a foreign object,
- violations of California “indecent exposure” law, and
- human trafficking for prostitution-related purposes or for child pornography purposes.10
California judges may also require a criminal defendant to register as a sex offender if s/he is convicted of an offense that is not on that list—if the judge concludes s/he committed the crime as a result of sexual compulsion or for sexual gratification.11
Example: Travis abducts a female acquaintance and is convicted of the California crime of kidnapping under Penal Code 207 PC. Travis does not sexually assault the woman when he abducts her.
But the prosecutor who brings charges against Travis argues that he kidnapped the woman for sexual gratification and would have assaulted her if he had not been caught first. The judge agrees.
So after being found guilty of kidnapping, Travis required to register as a sex offender despite not having actually committed a sex crime.
Residing in California
In order for you to be convicted under Penal Code 290(b), the prosecutor must prove that you resided in California at the time you allegedly failed to register as a sex offender.12
You are considered to live in California if you live:
- in a California city or town,
- in an unincorporated area within California, or
- on a California college campus.13
Example: Carson is convicted of Penal Code 243.4 sexual battery in California. After he finishes serving his sentence, he moves to Oregon.
After ten years of living and working in Oregon, Carson is accepted into a master's degree program at a California university and moves into on-campus housing at the university. He keeps his Oregon driver's license and a house he owns in Oregon.
But Carson still needs to register as a sex offender in California as long as he is living on the California campus.
Knowledge of duty to register
In order for you to be guilty of failure to register as a sex offender, the prosecutor must be able to prove that you knew you were required to register under PC 290.14
This makes failing to register as a sex offender under Penal Code 290(b) different from most crimes. For most crimes, “ignorance of the law is no excuse”—meaning that you can be convicted even if you did not know that what you were doing was illegal.
But in the case of failure to register as a sex offender, ignorance as to your reporting requirement will absolve you of any criminal liability.15
Notice of the duty to register is almost always given to people convicted of eligible crimes in California. Ways in which you might be notified of this requirement include:
- written notice, usually in the official complaint that informs you of the crimes with which you are being charged;
- verbal notice by the prosecutor before you plead guilty or “no contest” to an eligible offense;
- verbal notice by the judge when you are sentenced; and/or
- written and/or verbal notice by the Department of Corrections when you are released from jail or prison.16
But even if you received notice of some sort, your criminal defense attorney may still be able to show that you did not understand your duty to register as a sex offender.
Example: Frank has been convicted of violating California's indecent exposure law. Frank has a learning disability and reads at a second-grade level.
Frank is later charged with failure to register as a sex offender under Penal Code 290(b) PC.
The prosecutor is able to show that Frank was given written, but not verbal, notice of the registration requirement, in the initial complaint against him.
But Frank and his lawyer show that Frank could not possibly have read and understood the notice. So Frank may not have knowingly failed to register—and he may not be guilty of the crime of failing to register.
Just as the prosecutor must prove that you knew you had the duty to register, the prosecutor must also prove that your failure to do so was willful.17
“Willfully” means doing an act willingly or on purpose.18 It implies that you knew you had a duty to register and that you chose to ignore that duty.19
However, this does not mean that you can defend yourself against charges of failing to register as a sex offender by arguing that you forgot to register one year. California courts have held that carelessness/forgetting is not a defense to this crime.20
The penalties for PC 290(b) failure to register as a sex offender depend on the underlying offense that led to the requirement that you register in the first place.
You will be charged with failing to register as a California misdemeanor if:
- You are required to register based on a conviction for a misdemeanor sex offense; AND
- You have no prior convictions for failure to register as a sex offender.21
But Penal Code 290(b) will be charged as a felony if your prior sex offense conviction was a felony, OR if you have one (1) or more prior convictions for this offense.22
The potential penalties for misdemeanor failure to register include:
- Misdemeanor (summary) probation;
- Up to one (1) year in county jail; and/or
- A fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000).23
And the penalties for failure to register as a felony include:
- Felony (formal) probation;
- Sixteen (16) months, two (2) years or three (3) years in California state prison; and/or
- A fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000).24
Failing to register as a California sex offender under Penal Code 290(b) is what's legally known as a “continuing offense.”25
This means that you incur criminal liability and make yourself subject to the above penalties each time you shirk your reporting duties—which, in turn, could ultimately result in a substantial state prison sentence.
Every time you fail to register or fail to update your information within your specific reporting period, you subject yourself to a new violation—and a new jail or prison sentence.26
Example: Luis has a prior California conviction for Penal Code 288a PC oral copulation by force or fear, a felony. After he is released from prison, he registers as a sex offender for years as required under Penal Code 290 PC.
But as time goes by, Luis starts getting careless. One year, he moves from Victorville to Palmdale and forgets to update his registration. Then, after his next birthday, he once again forgets to register.
Luis may be charged with two counts of failing to register as a sex offender, because he missed his registration requirement twice.
Because his underlying crime was a felony, the maximum sentence for one violation is three (3) years in state prison—so Luis may face as many as six (6) years for failing to register two times.
Luckily, there is one important exception to this rule. If you move to a new city and fail to update your information with the police in both your old city and your new city, you will only be punished for one offense.27
Example: Let's go back to Luis from the earlier example.
When he moved to Palmdale, he did not update his registration either with the police department in Victorville (his old residence) or with the police department in Palmdale (his new residence).
Theoretically, this could mean he violated the law against failing to register twice—but in fact it will only be counted as one violation.
As if it all that weren't bad enough, in some cases failing to register can count as a third strike under California's Three Strikes Law.28
Failure to register can be a third strike only if the following things are all true:
- The sex crime for which you are required to register was a felony;
- You have previously been convicted of two felonies defined as violent felonies or serious felonies; AND
- One of your previous felony convictions was for one of a select list of especially serious crimes, which includes:
- any “sexually violent” offense (this usually means a sex crime committed through force, violence, or threat),
- oral copulation, sodomy, or sexual penetration with a person under 14 years of age who is more than 10 years younger than you,
- Penal Code 288 lewd acts with a child under 14, and
- any murder or manslaughter offense, including an attempted homicide.29
If all of these circumstances apply, then a conviction for felony failure to register under Penal Code 290(b) can get you twenty-five (25) years to life in state prison.30
The good news is that there are many legal defenses to California crimes—including the crime of failing to register as a sex offender—that an experienced California sex crimes defense attorney may present on your behalf.
Some of the most common defenses include:
You didn't willfully fail to register
There are two ways you could argue this defense.
First, you could argue that you did not know about your obligation to register.
Depending on the paper trail in your case, this defense may be difficult to prove. If you signed documents acknowledging your registration requirements from the court or from the correctional facility in which you served your sentence, you will most likely be prevented from asserting this defense.
But according to Santa Ana criminal defense attorney Ninaz Saffari31:
“If you speak English as a foreign language, the defense of lack of knowledge may apply even if you were given verbal notice by a judge or prosecutor. Or maybe you were in an accident or underwent some type of medical procedure that caused you amnesia—or you have Alzheimer's disease or dementia or some other mental or physical condition that deprived you of knowledge. Any of these scenarios could arguably convince a judge or jury that you didn't know you were required to register.”
Another way to argue this defense is to admit that you knew about the requirement to register—but argue that your failure to register still was not “willful” because it wasn't done on purpose.
Just forgetting to register is not a defense to Penal Code 290(b) PC charges.32 But maybe an illness or injury or hospitalization prevented you from fulfilling your obligation to register.
Or maybe an abusive romantic partner or a sick or injured child limited your ability to take care of this routine matter. In such a case, the defense of lack of willfulness may apply.
You attempted to register, but your information was lost or not received
Maybe you mailed your annual update but your local law enforcement agency claims they didn't receive the paperwork. In this case, you didn't willfully fail to register—and therefore can't be convicted of this offense.33
Human error can also play a role in an unjust charge of failure to register as a sex offender. For example, if you registered in person, the person entering your information into the computer may have done so inaccurately.
You were falsely accused
The sad truth is that our society frequently stigmatizes sex offenders—and law enforcement personnel are no exception.
This means cops may allow their own personal biases to overcome their professional duties to uphold the law, all in an effort to punish you further for your underlying sex offense conviction.
Sometimes a convicted sex offender abides by all of his/her registration obligations—but the police officer to whom s/he reports manages to “lose” the relevant paperwork, and reports him/her to the District Attorney for failure to register.
In cases like this, it's your word against the officer's—and it is of paramount importance that you have a good criminal defense attorney on your side to help make sure that the truth comes out.
Call us for help...
To learn more about failing to register as a California sex offender under Penal Code 290 PC, or to speak confidentially with our California criminal defense attorneys, please don't hesitate to contact us at Shouse Law Group. We have local criminal law offices in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay area, Orange County, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura, and many surrounding areas.
For information about Nevada law on failure to register as a sex offender, please see our article on Nevada law on failure to register as a sex offender.
You may also find helpful information in our related articles on California's Sex Offender Registration Law; California Sex Crimes; Penal Code 261.5 Statutory Rape; California Rape Law Penal Code 261 PC; Human Trafficking Under California Penal Code 236.1; Legal Definition of a Misdemeanor; Legal Definition of a Felony in California Law; Common Legal Defenses to California Crimes; California Child Pornography Laws Penal Code 311.3 and 311.11 PC; California “Indecent Exposure” Law Penal Code 314 PC; The California Crime of Kidnapping Under Penal Code 207 PC; Penal Code 243.4 Sexual Battery; “Nolo Contendere” or “No Contest” Pleas in California Criminal Law; Misdemeanor (Summary) Probation in California; Felony (Formal) Probation in California; Penal Code 288a PC Oral Copulation by Force or Fear; California's “Three Strikes” Law; “Violent Felonies” Under California Three Strikes Law; “Serious Felonies” Under California Three Strikes Law; and Penal Code 288 Lewd Acts with a Child Under 14.
1 Penal Code 290.018 PC – Penalties for [failure to register as a sex offender]. (“(a) 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. (b) 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. (c) If probation is granted or if the imposition or execution of sentence is suspended, it shall be a condition of the probation or suspension that the person serve at least 90 days in a county jail. The penalty described in subdivision (b) or this subdivision shall apply whether or not the person has been released on parole or has been discharged from parole.”)
2 Penal Code 290(b) PC – Sex Offender Registration Act; lifetime duty to register within specified number of days following entrance into or moving within a jurisdiction; offenses requiring mandatory registration [Failure to register as a sex offender]. (“(b) Every person described in subdivision (c), for the rest of his or her life while residing in California, or while attending school or working in California, as described in Sections 290.002 and 290.01, shall be required to register with the chief of police of the city in which he or she is residing, or the sheriff of the county if he or she is residing in an unincorporated area or city that has no police department, and, additionally, with the chief of police of a campus of the University of California, the California State University, or community college if he or she is residing upon the campus or in any of its facilities, within five working days of coming into, or changing his or her residence within, any city, county, or city and county, or campus in which he or she temporarily resides, and shall be required to register thereafter in accordance with the Act.”).
3 Penal Code 290.018 PC – Penalties for [failure to register as a sex offender], endnote 1, above.
6 Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instruction (“CALCRIM”) 1170 -- Failure to Register as Sex Offender (Pen. Code, § 290(b)). (“The defendant is charged [in Count ] with failing to register as a sex offender [in violation of Penal Code section 290(b)]. To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that:  The defendant was previously (convicted of/found to have committed) <specify the offense for which the defendant is allegedly required to register>;  The defendant resided (in <insert name of city>, California/in an unincorporated area or a city with no police department in <insert name of county> County, California/on the campus or in the facilities of <insert name of university or college>);  The defendant actually knew (he/she) had a duty to register as a sex offender under Penal Code section 290 [within five working days of (his/her) birthday] wherever (he/she) resided; AND <Alternative 4A—change of residence>  The defendant willfully failed to register as a sex offender with the (police chief of that city/sheriff of that county/the police chief of that campus or its facilities) within five working days of (coming into/ [or] changing (his/her) residence within) that (city/county/campus).] [OR] <Alternative 4B—birthday>  The defendant willfully failed to annually update (his/her) registration as a sex offender with the (police chief of that city/sheriff of that county/the police chief of that campus) within five working days of (his/her) birthday.]”)
7 Penal Code 290 PC – Sex Offender Registration Act; lifetime duty to register within specified number of days following entrance into or moving within a jurisdiction; offenses requiring mandatory registration [Failure to register as a sex offender], endnote 2, above.
See also Penal Code 290.012 PC. (“(a) Beginning on his or her first birthday following registration or change of address, the person shall be required to register annually, within five working days of his or her birthday, to update his or her registration with the entities described in subdivision (b) of Section 290 [or face failure to register as a sex offender charges]. At the annual update, the person shall provide current information as required on the Department of Justice annual update form, including the information described in paragraphs (1) to (5), inclusive of subdivision (a) of Section 290.015. The registering agency shall give the registrant a copy of the registration requirements from the Department of Justice form.”)
9 Penal Code 290.013 PC – Change of address [requirements to avoid failure to register charges], within or outside the state; notice to Department of Justice by jail or prison for registrants incarcerated for more than 90 days. (“(a) Any person who was last registered at a residence address pursuant to the Act who changes his or her residence address, whether within the jurisdiction in which he or she is currently registered or to a new jurisdiction inside or outside the state, shall, in person, within five working days of the move, inform the law enforcement agency or agencies with which he or she last registered of the move, the new address or transient location, if known, and any plans he or she has to return to California. (b) If the person does not know the new residence address or location at the time of the move, the registrant shall, in person, within five working days of the move, inform the last registering agency or agencies that he or she is moving. The person shall later notify the last registering agency or agencies, in writing, sent by certified or registered mail, of the new address or location within five working days of moving into the new residence address or location, whether temporary or permanent.”)
See also People v. Davis (2002) 102 Cal.App.4th 377.
10 Penal Code 290 PC – Failure to register as a sex offender. (“(c) The following persons shall be required to register: Any person who, since July 1, 1944, has been or is hereafter convicted in any court in this state or in any federal or military court of a violation of Section 187 committed in the perpetration, or an attempt to perpetrate, 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, subdivision (b) and (c) of Section 236.1, Section 243.4, paragraph (1), (2), (3), (4), or (6) of 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, subdivision (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, subdivision 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.”)
11 Penal Code 290.006 PC -- Court order of [sex offender] registration for offenses committed out of sexual compulsion or for sexual gratification. (“Any person ordered by any court to register pursuant to the Act for any offense not included specifically in subdivision (c) of Section 290, shall so register [or else face charges for failure to register as a sex offender], if the court finds at the time of conviction or sentencing that the person committed the offense as a result of sexual compulsion or for purposes of sexual gratification.”)
12 CALCRIM 1170 -- Failure to Register as Sex Offender (Pen. Code, § 290(b)), endnote 6, above.
See also People v. Garcia (2001) 25 Cal.4th 744, 752. (“As stated in People v. Honig (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 289, 334, “the term 'willfully' ... imports a requirement that 'the person knows what he is doing.' [Citation.] Consistent with that requirement, and in appropriate cases, knowledge has been held to be a concomitant of willfulness. [Fn. omitted.]” Accordingly, a violation of section 290 [failure to register as a sex offender] requires actual knowledge of the duty to register.”)
16 See Penal Code 290.017 PC – Notification of duty to register prior to release from custody or confinement, or release on probation [part of failure to register as a sex offender law]. (“(a) Any person who is released, discharged, or paroled from a jail, state or federal prison, school, road camp, or other institution where he or she was confined, who is required to register pursuant to the Act, shall, prior to discharge, parole, or release, be informed of his or her duty to register under the Act by the official in charge of the place of confinement or hospital, and the official shall require the person to read and sign any form that may be required by the Department of Justice, stating that the duty of the person to register under the Act has been explained to the person. . . . (c) Any person who is required to register pursuant to the Act and who is released on probation, shall, prior to release or discharge, be informed of the duty to register under the Act by the probation department, and a probation officer shall require the person to read and sign any form that may be required by the Department of Justice, stating that the duty of the person to register has been explained to him or her. . . . (d) Any person who is required to register pursuant to the Act and who is granted conditional release without supervised probation, or discharged upon payment of a fine, shall, prior to release or discharge, be informed of the duty to register under the Act in open court by the court in which the person has been convicted, and the court shall require the person to read and sign any form that may be required by the Department of Justice, stating that the duty of the person to register has been explained to him or her. If the court finds that it is in the interest of the efficiency of the court, the court may assign the bailiff to require the person to read and sign forms under the Act.”)
17 See CALCRIM 1170 – Failure to Register as Sex Offender, endnote 6, above.
18 CALCRIM 1170 -- Failure to Register as Sex Offender (Pen. Code, § 290(b)). (“Someone commits an act willfully when he or she does it willingly or on purpose.”)
19 See same.
20 See People v. Barker (2004) 34 Cal.4th 345, 350. (“Section 290 imposes a duty upon all registrants, once they have received and understood advisement of the duty to register, to remember and fulfill that legal obligation. We do not believe the Legislature intended that a defendant could successfully evade this duty [and escape a failing to register as a sex offender conviction] by claiming that 'I totally forgot about it.' ”)
21 Penal Code 290.018 PC – Penalties for [failure to register as a sex offender], endnote 1, above.
See also Penal Code 672 PC. (“Upon a conviction for any crime punishable by imprisonment in any jail or prison, in relation to which no fine is herein prescribed [such as failure to register as a sex offender], the court may impose a fine on the offender not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) in cases of misdemeanors or ten thousand dollars ($10,000) in cases of felonies, in addition to the imprisonment prescribed.”)
25 People v. Meeks (2004) 123 Cal.App.4th 695, 702. (“Failure to register [as a sex offender] under [California Penal Code] section 290 is a continuing offense (§ 290, subd. (g)(8); Wright v. Superior Court (1997) 15 Cal.4th 521, 528, 63 Cal.Rptr.2d 322, 936 P.2d 101), that is, one “marked by a continuing duty in the defendant to do an act which he fails to do. The offense continues as long as the duty persists and there is a failure to perform that duty.”)
26 Same, at 702. (“A defendant who knows that he is subject to prosecution for each violation of the registration requirement is more likely to comply in order to avoid additional punishment and is more likely to become visible again to law enforcement. Thus visible, he arguably is less likely to repeat his sexual crimes. By requiring defendants to register annually and with every change of residence, it was no doubt the Legislature's intent to treat each violation of the registration requirements [each failure to register as a sex offender] as a separate, continuing offense in order to encourage compliance with the law and to ensure to the extent possible that a sex offender's whereabouts remain known.”)
27 People v. Britt (2004) 32 Cal.4th 944, 953. (“Accordingly, we conclude that a person subject to section 290's [sex offender] reporting requirements who changes residence a single time within California without reporting to any law enforcement agency, and who thus violates both subdivisions (a) and (f) of section 290 [subdivision (f) is now PC 290.013], may be punished [under Penal Code 290(b) PC] for one of those crimes, but not both. We note, however, that nothing in section 654 prohibits the court from considering the overall circumstances, including the fact that the defendant violated both provisions, in determining what punishment to impose for one of those offenses.”)
28 Penal Code 667 PC – Habitual criminals; enhancement of sentence; amendment of section. (“(b) It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting subdivisions (b) to (i), inclusive, to ensure longer prison sentences and greater punishment for those who commit a felony [including felony failure to register as a sex offender] and have been previously convicted of serious and/or violent felony offenses. (e) For purposes of subdivisions (b) to (i), inclusive, and in addition to any other enhancement or punishment provisions which may apply, the following shall apply where a defendant has a prior felony conviction: . . . (2)(A) If a defendant has two or more prior felony convictions as defined in subdivision (d) that have been pled and proved, the term for the current felony conviction shall be an indeterminate term of life imprisonment with a minimum term of the indeterminate sentence calculated as the greater of: (i) Three times the term otherwise provided as punishment for each current felony conviction subsequent to the two or more prior felony convictions. (ii) Imprisonment in the state prison for 25 years. . . . (C) (C) If a defendant has two or more prior serious and/or violent felony convictions as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 667.5 or subdivision (c) of Section 1192.7 that have been pled and proved, and the current offense is not a serious or violent felony as defined in subdivision (d) [as failure to register as a sex offender is not], the defendant shall be sentenced pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (e) unless the prosecution pleads and proves any of the following: . . . (iv) The defendant suffered a prior serious and/or violent felony conviction, as defined in subdivision (d) of this section, for any of the following felonies: (I) A “sexually violent offense” as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 6600 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. (II) Oral copulation with a child who is under 14 years of age, and who is more than 10 years younger than he or she as defined by Section 288a, sodomy with another person who is under 14 years of age and more than 10 years younger than he or she as defined by Section 286, or sexual penetration with another person who is under 14 years of age, and who is more than 10 years younger than he or she, as defined by Section 289. (III) A lewd or lascivious act involving a child under 14 years of age, in violation of Section 288. (IV) Any homicide offense, including any attempted homicide offense, defined in Sections 187 to 191.5, inclusive. (V) Solicitation to commit murder as defined in Section 653f. (VI) Assault with a machine gun on a peace officer or firefighter, as defined in paragraph (3) of subdivision (d) of Section 245. (VII) Possession of a weapon of mass destruction, as defined in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 11418. (VIII) Any serious and/or violent felony offense punishable in California by life imprisonment or death.”)
31 Santa Ana criminal defense attorney Ninaz Saffari has been featured as a legal expert on CNN Headline News and CBS News. She has won favorable outcomes for her clients in cases ranging from murder and drug trafficking to failure to register as a sex offender. In a recent high-profile case, Ms. Saffari obtained a full dismissal of charges against an alleged serial rapist.
32 People v. Barker, endnote 20, above.
33 CALCRIM 1170 – Failure to Register as Sex Offender, endnote 6, above.