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Sex offenders living in California must register with the state’s sex offender registry.

Additionally, California law imposes certain restrictions on registered sex offenders who are living in the state.

If you are a registered sex offender, laws in California designed to restrict your freedom and publish your information can seem punitive and overwhelming.

At the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, we can explain what these constraints mean for you.

To share your story, contact us online or call (619) 598-1703 today.

California Sex Offender Residency Restrictions

In 2006, California voters passed a proposition known as Jessica’s Law that aimed to limit registered sex offenders released on or after November 8, 2006, from living with 2,000 feet of any school or park located within the state.

However, the California Supreme Court invalidated the blanket restriction in a 2015 ruling, noting that the prohibition eliminated almost all rental housing options in San Diego County.

Instead, residency restrictions applied to registered sex offenders are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Residency restrictions automatically apply to certain sex offenders, including:

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

Sex offenders labeled as high-risk are subject to lifetime GPS monitoring. 

Do I Have to Notify My Neighbors That I am a Sex Offender?

A registered sex offender in California is not obligated to notify his or her neighbors about that registration status.

However, Megan’s Law requires that the California Department of Justice (DOJ) notify the public about registered sex offenders in the state.

The California DOJ fulfills this obligation through the Megan’s Law website, which lists information about sex offenders for the public to see.

Additionally, Megan’s Law authorizes local law enforcement agencies to notify the public about sex offenders posing a threat to public safety.

Who Can I Live With? 

California law prohibits two sex offenders from living together unless the two are related by blood, marriage, or adoption.

Terms of probation or parole dictate living restrictions in some cases.

For example, a condition of an offender’s parole, mandatory supervision, or probation can prohibit any contact with individuals under eighteen years of age.

California Sex Offender Travel Restrictions

Sex offenders are subject to travel restrictions imposed as a condition of their probation, mandatory supervision, or parole.

Depending on the circumstances, permission to travel can be granted by a caseworker.

Being a registered sex offender itself does not currently prevent someone from traveling domestically. 

The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) requires a registered sex offender to inform his or her jurisdiction of residence of any intended travel outside the United States at least three weeks prior to the departure date.

Sex offenders planning international travel must provide a travel itinerary with information about their trip and the sex crime they were convicted of.

Some countries prohibit registered sex offenders, and anyone else with a felony conviction, from visiting.

A few of these countries include:

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

Be sure to check the laws regarding visiting the country with a prior conviction before attempting to travel internationally.

Contact the country’s U.S. Embassy to ask in-depth questions about the country’s visitation policies.

Call or fill out the form to arrange a free consultation with a knowledgeable and experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney.

Contact The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC

Legal obligations and restrictions influence almost every aspect of a sex offender’s daily life.

Our California defense attorneys have over a decade of combined experience representing sex offenders and have the expertise to provide you with the answers you need.

Contact us online or call (619) 598-1703 today for a free consultation.

Where You Can Find Our San Diego, CA Office

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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.