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What it means to be on the sex offender registry in California

In our last post, we talked about some of the non-violent acts that can get someone placed on a sex offender registry. Urinating in public is one such crime that, in California, makes you eligible for the sex offender registry. California is also one of a handful of states that has a rule that leaves sex offenders on such a registry for life. So yes: if you pee in public, you could be branded as a sex offender for the rest of your life. Seems harsh, no?

People on the sex offender list are subjected to numerous requirements. For example, they have to check in with law enforcement. They have to report where they work and where they live so that online sex offender databases can reflect that information. If they want to move to a new state, they must inform law enforcement in their new state quickly, or face potential serious penalties.



So what can someone do if they have been placed on California's sex offender registry for life? Well, there's no certain answer there, although anyone on the list could petition to be removed from the list.

There are filing fees involved and you will want to have an attorney on your side during this petition process to protect your rights and ensure your case is being properly handled. But there is some good news for those appealing their sex offender status in California: the Sex Offender Management Board is considering making it a little easier for those on the registry to have an appeal accepted. This would likely mean those charged with lesser crimes would have a greater chance of winning an appeal.

Source: Slate, "Listed for Life," Jane Shim, Aug. 13, 2014

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