California makes information about convicted sex offenders available to the public through its Megan’s Law website.
Megan’s Law was named after a 7-year-old girl in New Jersey who was raped and killed by a sex offender living on the same street. Her parents argued that they could have protected their daughter had they known that a convicted offender was living nearby, so information about the location of sex offenders should be made public.
Sex offenders in California have had to register with local authorities for over 70 years. However, the Megan’s Law website makes information more widely accessible across the state.
Being included in the website is one of the hardest parts of being a convicted sex offender. Any person can find information about where you live and show up at your door to confront you. Some convicted sex offenders have been attacked by angry members of the public. The website also has developed a reputation for having inaccurate or incomplete information, which also presents a distorted image of you to the world.
At our firm, we often receive questions about California sex offender registry removal, such as “Is it possible to be removed from the sex offender registry?” Being removed from the website is called “exclusion,” and it is possible in some situations. In this article we will explain the steps necessary to get removed.
Check if You Qualify for Removal
Not everyone is eligible for California sex offender registry removal. However, you can submit an application for exclusion if you were convicted of the following:
- Sexual battery by restraint, Penal Code 243.4(a)
- Annoying or molesting a child, Penal Code 647.6
- Felony child pornography, if the victim was at least 16 and you have proof of age in an official court document
You can also request exclusion if you meet the following:
- Your conviction did not involve oral copulation or penetration
- Your victim was your child, stepchild, grandchild, or sibling
- You have completed your probation successfully or are currently completing it
For example, you might have been accused of misdemeanor sexual battery under Penal Code 243.4(a) for groping a girl. The victim was a young woman in your dorm room in college, and you have completed your probation. In this situation, you qualify for exclusion.
However, if you penetrated your victim against her will, then you do not qualify. You also don’t qualify if you were sentenced to California’s state prison.
You should obtain copies of your papers to see what offense you were charged and convicted of. Contact the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, ALPC.
Complete the Megan’s Law Exclusion Form
You can get this form from the California Department of Justice or download it here. Provide all information requested and keep a copy for your records. If you meet the requirements, the Department should approve your request and remove the information from the website.
However, the Department can reject your application if they believe you are a “sexually violent predator.” You should receive a letter from the Department within 30 days containing the decision.
Continue to Register with Local Authorities
Being removed from the website does not relieve you of the registration requirement. Instead, you must continue to register with local authorities whenever you move so they can keep tabs on you. Being removed, however, will afford you some measure of privacy from the public.
You should also realize that removing your information from the website does not wipe out the criminal conviction, which people can still find by running a background check on you. You might want to meet with an attorney to see if you can expunge your conviction.
Don’t Pick Up Any More Offenses
If you commit another sex crime, then you can expect your information to show back up on the Megan’s Law website. Depending on the crime, you also might not be able to reapply in the future for having your information removed, so it is important to stay on the right side of the law.
Identify Other Methods of How to Be Removed from the Sex Offender Registry
Submitting an application for exclusion is not the only way to have your information removed from the website. If you receive a pardon from the Governor or a Certificate of Rehabilitation, then you will be relieved of the duty of registering as a sex offender in most cases. As a result, your information should not appear online in the Megan’s Law website.
If you have a question about removal from the registry, please contact the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC. We have represented many people accused of sex crimes, and we can help you determine whether you qualify for an exclusion.