Post-Conviction: PC § 290 FAQ

In 2017, California enacted Senate Bill 384, which changed 290 registration from mandatory lifetime registration to different tiers based on the person’s criminal record. Beginning January 1, 2021, there are now three tiers of registration for adult offenders:

  • Adult Tier 1: 10 year minimum registration period
  • Adult Tier 2: 20 year minimum registration period
  • Adult Tier 3: Lifetime registration

There are two tiers of registration for juvenile offenders:

  • Juvenile Tier 1: 5 year minimum registration period
  • Juvenile Tier 2: 10 year minimum registration period

YES. You must continue to keep your registration current and accurate. After completing your registration period, you will have the opportunity to petition the court to be removed from the sex offender registry. For your petition for removal to succeed, you must provide proof of your current registration with your petition.

Your commitment to keeping your registration consistent and accurate is the most important part of whether your petition will succeed. If you are eligible for removal, a good track record of registration will make it more likely a judge will grant your petition. If you have any questions about your registration, please contact the public defender in the county where you live and register. If you are unclear about any of the rules about your registration, ask your local public defender’s office or the law enforcement agency where you register.

Beginning January 1, 2021, you can request a tier notification letter from the law enforcement agency where you register.

Some offenders may be placed into a ‘To be Determined’ Tier until the California Department of Justice (DOJ) can correctly identify the person’s tier. DOJ then has up to two years to determine the correct tier. If you are placed in a ‘To be Determined’ Tier you may still be able to petition for relief.

If you register in San Bernardino County, you should contact the San Bernardino Public Defender’s Office Post-Conviction Relief Unit by calling (909) 387-0569.

The California Department of Justice also has Frequently Asked Questions available on their website, and they recommend that you contact the public defender with questions. The different rules that determine a person’s tier are complex. We recommend that you seek legal advice to help you answer any questions that you have about your tier, your registration period, or your petition for removal.

There are three tiers of registration for those with a sex conviction in adult court.

  • Adult Tier 1: 10 year minimum registration period
  • Adult Tier 2: 20 year minimum registration period
  • Adult Tier 3: Lifetime registration

There are two tiers of registration for those with a sex offense from juvenile court.

  • Juvenile Tier 1: 5 year minimum registration period
  • Juvenile Tier 2: 10 year minimum registration period

Your tier is based on your prior sex conviction(s).

Your registration period begins after your release from custody following your sex offense. This includes any civil commitment time after the offense. The clock for the registration period starts as soon as you are released.

There are two main reasons why your registration period may be extended:

First, if you were returned to custody after your release from the sex offense, that custody time does not count towards the registration period. The registration period is tolled or paused if you are returned to custody for a new offense of any kind that results in a conviction. The registration period is tolled or paused if you are returned to custody followed by a violation of probation, post-release community supervision, parole, or other supervision.

Second, if you are convicted of failure to register in violation of PC § 290, that also adds time to your registration period. A felony conviction for failing to register adds 3 years to your registration period. A misdemeanor conviction for failing to register adds 1 year to your registration period.

For example, if someone is convicted of a Tier 1 misdemeanor offense, then they would have a 10 year registration period. If they are later convicted of a misdemeanor for failure to register under PC § 290 and serve 30 days of custody time, that would add 1 year and 30 days to the length of their registration period. Their new registration period would be 11 years and 30 days, beginning on the day of their release from the original sex offense.

In order to be removed from the sex offender registry, you must file a petition pursuant to PC § 290.5 with the court in the county where you register. An improperly filed petition may result in a denial of the petition and possibly a delay of 1-5 years before you can file another petition. It is highly recommended that you consult with an attorney in our Post-Conviction Unit or other legal counsel before filing your petition.

The court may summarily deny a petition that has not fulfilled the filing and service requirements of PC § 290.5.

Your petition MUST include proof of current sex offender registration.

Make sure that when reviewing the requirements of a PC § 290.5 petition you are checking the version of PC § 290.5 that is effective on July 1, 2021.

If your prior sex conviction was in adult court, then you file your petition for removal in superior court in the county where you register. If your prior sex offense is from juvenile court, then you file the petition in the juvenile court in the county where you register.

The court may summarily deny a petition that has not fulfilled the filing and service requirements of PC § 290.5.

When you file your PC § 290.5 petition for removal, the petition must be served on the following parties:

  • The district attorney in the county where you register
  • The law enforcement agency where you register
  • The district attorney in the county where you received your sex conviction
  • The law enforcement agency where you received your sex conviction

The court may summarily deny a petition that has not fulfilled the filing and service requirements of PC § 290.5.

Make sure that when reviewing the requirements of a PC § 290.5 petition you are checking the version of PC § 290.5 that is effective on July 1, 2021.

You may file a PC § 290.5 petition on or after your next birthday following July 1, 2021. You must have completed the registration period for your tier plus any additional tolling time.

It may take at least 4 months for a judge to rule on your petition. You MUST keep your registration current during this time. You are required to register until a judge has ruled in your favor and you are removed from the registry.

Law enforcement has 60 days after your PC § 290.5 petition is filed to file a report with the DA and the court. The report assesses whether you have completed your registration period and are eligible for removal. Both the registering law enforcement agency and the law enforcement agency in the county of conviction, if different, prepare reports.

Within 60 days of receiving the report from law enforcement, the DA in the county of registration or the DA in the county of the prior offense may request a hearing in court. The DA may request a hearing if you have not completed your registration period or if community safety would be significantly enhanced by continued registration.

If the DA does not request a hearing, the judge shall grant the petition if all of the following are true:

  • Registration period is completed
  • Proof of current registration is attached to the petition
  • No pending charges that could extend the registration period or tier
  • Not currently in custody
  • Not currently on probation, parole, or supervised release

If the DA does request a hearing, evidence will be presented before the judge makes a ruling.

We recommend that you contact the public defender’s office in the county where you register or other law office to assist you in filing your petition.

If you register in San Bernardino County, you should contact the San Bernardino Public Defender’s Office Post-Conviction Relief Unit by calling (909) 387-0569.

Yes. If you register in San Bernardino County, you should contact the San Bernardino Public Defender’s Office Post-Conviction Relief Unit by calling (909) 387-0569.

We can help answer any questions about your sex registration, including your tier and your registration period.  We can also represent you by filing a petition on your behalf, if you are eligible, and represent you in court during the hearing.

The judge can consider the following:

  • The nature and facts of the registrable offense
  • The number of victims
  • Whether the victim was a stranger (known less than 24 hours)
  • Relevant criminal and noncriminal behavior before and after offense
  • Time period without re-offending
  • Completion of sex offender treatment program
  • Risk of re-offense

The judge may consider declarations, affidavits, police reports, or any other evidence that is reliable, material, and relevant.

If your petition is denied, the judge will set a time period of 1-5 years after which you can file another petition for removal from the registry.

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