What Is a Level 1 Sex Offender in California?

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If you get convicted of a sex crime in California, you could be convicted of one of three levels of being a sex offender—with level 1 being the least serious.

You will almost certainly have penalties such as jail or prison time, and registering as a sex offender is one of the collateral punishments you will likely face.

Even after serving your jail or prison time as a level 1 sex offender and completing probation or parole successfully, you will likely still have the onerous and embarrassing task of registering as a sex offender. 

Contact The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, right away if you are facing sex charges.

Our experienced sex crime defense lawyers will provide you with emotional support while aggressively pursuing the best defense for your case.

Our California State Bar board-certified criminal law specialist Kerry L. Armstrong and his team of award-winning defense lawyers are ready to help you when needed.

What Is a Level 1 Sex Offender?

The California Department of Justice determines if you should be a level 1, 2, or 3 sex offender after a conviction.

Under California’s amended Sex Offender Registration Act, a level 1 sex offender is convicted for a less-serious sex offense than levels 2 or 3.

Level 2 sex offender charges are more serious than level 1 but less serious than level 3. 

Level 1 sex offender examples include:

  • Misdemeanor sexual battery;
  • Enticing a child into a house of prostitution;
  • Inducing sex by fraud;
  • Misdemeanor sodomy, or some felony cases that do not involve the use of force;
  • Misdemeanor oral copulation, or some felony cases that do not involve the use of force;
  • Misdemeanor child pornography charges;
  • Indecent exposure; and
  • A first offense of annoying a child (misdemeanor).

Other sex offense convictions could require you to register as a level 1 sex offender as well.

Sex offenders must abide by certain restrictions set in place by the court or parole board.

However, level 1 sex offender restrictions include registering with your local police department on your birthday annually, re-registering every time you move, and registering with campus police if you take college courses.

How Long Does a Level 1 Sex Offender Have to Register?

Can a level 1 sex offender get off the registry at any point? According to California’s Sex Offender Registration Act, a level 1 sex offender must register for at least ten years.

After that, you might be eligible to apply for relief if you file a petition for removal from the sex offender registry pursuant to Penal Code section 290.5.

California law allows you to petition the court for relief from registration on your birthday after the minimum registration time expires.

You are ineligible for early termination of your registration if you:

  • Have not waited the minimum time;
  • Have open charges that could change your tier;
  • Currently reside outside of California; 
  • Remain in custody, on probation, or parole; or
  • Have not filed the appropriate paperwork.

The prosecutor has the right to object and ask for a hearing. If your petition is not successful, you must wait at least five years before applying again. 

Get the Help You Need from Our Top Attorneys with The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC

We are ready to stand by you to protect your rights, freedom, and future. Our claim is not idle talk, as we have well over 100 jury trials under our belts.

You don’t accumulate that much trial experience by plea bargaining to marginally-reduced charges.

Call us at 619-234-2300 or contact us online to speak with our AV Preeminent-Rated Attorney Kerry L. Armstrong and our award-winning lawyers. 

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.

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