Can You Terminate Your Sex Offender Registration in California?

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In California, a conviction for certain sex crimes requires the individual to register with the California sex offender registry.

Registered sex offenders can face stricter residency requirements and experience restrictions on travel, along with other consequences. Additionally, registered sex offenders must provide basic information that is published on the Megan’s Law website and available to the public.

In January 2021, California began allowing certain registered sex offenders to stop registering and also remove their names and other identifying information from the sex offender registry.

But this process does not occur automatically. California sex offender registry removal is a complicated process with several steps.

Contact an experienced sex crimes lawyer at The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, for guidance on how to get off the sex offender registry in California.

Who Can Remove Their Name from the California Sex Offender Registry

In 2017, California enacted a three-tier registry for sex offenders that created a tiered timeline for sex offender registration based on the seriousness of the crime. It went into effect on January 1, 2021.

Tier 3 sexual offenders are still required to stay on the registry forever. Tier 3 sexual offenses include:

  • Child sex trafficking,
  • Rape,
  • All forcible sex crimes, 
  • Pimping and pandering of a minor, and
  • Felony possession of child pornography.

Tier 2 sexual offenders can qualify for removal after a minimum of 20 years, and tier 1 sexual offenders can qualify for removal after a minimum of 10 years.

Tier 2 sex offenses include mid-level felonies. Examples of tier 2 sex offenses include:

  • Incest,
  • Statutory rape,
  • Penetration with foreign objects,
  • Oral copulation,
  • Sex with those unable to consent, and
  • Lewd acts with minors under 14 that are not forcible or violent.

Tier 1 sexual offenses are the lowest level of sex crimes, such as:

  • Misdemeanor sexual battery,
  • Indecent exposure,
  • Misdemeanor child pornography, and
  • Misdemeanor oral copulation.

A tier 1 sex offender will not appear on the Megan’s Law website unless they pose a specific and demonstrable threat to the community.

How to Remove Your Name from the California Sex Offender Registry

Once a registered sex offender meets the minimum requirements, they can file a petition with the superior court in the county where they live.

The offender must attach proof of current sex offender registration. In some jurisdictions, the court may require the submission of additional forms with your petition. 

An experienced attorney can review the requirements for the applicable superior court to ensure you attach the forms necessary and provide a file-stamped copy to the necessary parties.

The superior court has discretion over whether to grant or deny the petition and remove the registrant’s name. If a petition is denied, you must wait at least one year before filing another petition for termination.

The prosecuting attorney can request a hearing if they believe continued registration is necessary for the safety of the community.

Contact a California sex crimes attorney at The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, today so a member of our team can start on your petition.

What If I Cannot Get My Name Removed from the California Sex Offender Registry?

As stated above, California imposes specific restrictions on registered sex offenders. Although the state does not enforce a blanket restriction on sex offenders living near schools or parks, it can apply residency restrictions to:

  • Those convicted of lewd acts with a child under 14,
  • High-risk sex offenders, and
  • Those convicted of continuous sexual abuse of a child.

Two registered sex offenders are not allowed to live together unless they are related by blood, marriage, or adoption. 

Registered sex offenders are bound by travel restrictions as a condition of their supervised probation or parole. You can receive permission to travel from your case worker.

The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) requires registered sex offenders to inform their jurisdiction of residence of trips they plan to take outside the United States at least three weeks before they leave.

Sex offenders planning international travel must provide a travel itinerary with information about their trip and information about their criminal history.

Some countries prohibit registered sex offenders from visiting, including:

  • Australia,
  • France.
  • Canada,
  • China, and
  • Russia.

Registered sex offenders face numerous obligations and restrictions. Getting off the sex offender registry can enhance your quality of life and help you move forward.

Contact a criminal defense lawyer at our office today so we can discuss your case.

Contact The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, to Discuss Terminating Your Sex Offender Registration in California

Our team knows the hardship registered sex offenders face every day due to their registration status.

California’s legislative changes that began in 2021 altered the sex offender registration system in California to allow certain sex offenders to terminate their registration after meeting certain requirements.

Once you meet the requirements, you need to file a petition for termination with the superior court in your county of residency.

A qualified attorney can review your petition and ensure it contains the necessary information. If you submit an incomplete petition, the judge is unlikely to grant your request.

Our team at The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, has represented clients facing criminal allegations at jury trial more than a hundred times. Attorney Kerry L. Armstrong is a criminal law specialist certified by the State Bar of California.

Our team is committed to protecting the rights of individuals facing criminal charges or with a criminal conviction already on their record. A member of our team can help determine if you are eligible to remove your name from the sex offender registry.

Contact us today for your free case evaluation.

Author Photo

Kerry L. Armstrong


Attorney Kerry Armstrong opened up his law firm in June 2007. Mr. Armstrong attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, California, and received his B.S. from Middle Tennessee State University. Kerry L. Armstrong became certified by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization for criminal law in August 2020, making him one of the few criminal defense attorneys with a criminal law legal specialization certificate in San Diego County.  Between 2014 – 2019, Mr. Armstrong was selected for inclusion in the California Super Lawyers list, an honor only awarded to 5% of the nation’s attorneys.