Failure to Register as a Sex Offender in Chicago
Understanding Penal Code 290
A prosecutor who is looking to prove that you failed to register as a sex
offender will need to do so under the elements of crime as established
in Penal Code 290. This means that you will only be found guilty if the
prosecutor can successfully prove that all four of the elemental conditions exist:
- It must be proven that you were, in fact, convicted of one of the sex crimes
listed under California's Penal Code 290.
- It must be proven that you are a registered resident of California.
- It must be proven that you were aware of your duty to register as a sex
offender after your conviction was made.
- It must be proven that you deliberately failed to register as a sex offender.
Assuming that any one of these four components cannot be proven, the prosecution
will be significantly impaired in the arguments they attempt to make against
you. A comprehensive list of the sexual acts that are considered criminal
can be found in California Penal Code 290(c).
Persons accused of a sex crime must also keep in mind that it is up to
the discretion of the presiding judge on your case to ultimately determine
whether or not you will be required to register as a sex offender. This
does not mean that you will not have to register if you are convicted.
Rather, it means that
registration may be mandated for an offense that is not listed in California's
Penal Code 290(c).
Consequences for Failing to Register
Failing to register as a sex offender after a conviction has been made
is a criminal offense of its own. Although it requires the prosecuting
attorney to overcome a lot of hurdles, proving that a sex offender failed
to register could result in serious penalties for the convicted individual.
Unregistered sex offenders will not only be subjected to the possibility
of probation time, they will also face up to a year's sentence in
county jail (assuming the sex crime you were convicted of is a misdemeanor).
Up to three years can be spent in a California state prison if the sex
crime offense you were convicted of was a felony.
Failure to register as a sex offender has been classified as a
continuing offense. For this reason, offenders can legally be held to the penalties of their
offense every single time that a violation is made. Failure to report
the duties expected of you can quickly add up, ultimately ending in years
of jail or prison time depending on the nature of the offense and the
number of times it is committed. According to the state's law, a registered
sex offender must update his / her information annually, and it must always
be completed within five days of their birthday. Any time an offender
moves, he / she will also be expected to update their registration information.
Offenders in California need to be particularly careful because a failure
to register offense that is labeled as a felony offense will automatically
fall under the conditions set forth by the state's Three Strike's
Law. Acting as one count against the minimal three that you are given,
even one offense of this nature could significantly impact your future.
For individuals who already have two strikes against them, their third
strike for failure to register as a sex offender could land them in state
prison serving a sentence of up to 25 years.
Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer
The only way to approach the accusation of a failure to register is with
an aggressive approach, and nothing less than this will be delivered to
you under the representation of an attorney from our firm. There are many
options of defense available to individuals in need, each of which will
depend on the circumstances leading up to your conviction, as well as
those surrounding the accusation that has been made against you.
In some cases, a defense attorney may be able to prove that you did not
know about your responsibility to register. If any sort of language barrier
exists for the defendant, a viable argument can be made that his / her
failure to register as a sex offender was nothing more than a misunderstanding
between two people who do not speak the same language. A similar approach
may be taken when the defendant has suffered medical trauma that inhibits
their ability to understand the consequences of the conviction that has
Other methods of defense include arguing that an attempt to register was
made but the information submitted was not received. The annual process
of updating your registration information can often be completed in the
mail. While convenient, this method can easily be lost or otherwise deterred,
thereby preventing you from registering despite your attempts to do so.
Due to the fact that registration relies on a clerical worker to input
the information you submit, human error may also be sited as a reason
for your failure to register. Again, this route circumvents your responsibility,
instead focusing entirely on the mistake of another. If you have been
arrested for failing to register as a sex offender,
contact a Chicago criminal defense lawyer from my firm without delay.