How Does One Remove a Name from the Megan’s Law Internet Listing?

Our office has had several clients come to us asking if it is possible to have their name removed from publication on the Internet listing, as is provided under Megan’s Law (Penal Code § 290.46).  The client is usually fearful of a neighbor, employer or colleague finding one’s name, or parents of their child’s classmate and spreading the information, damaging their reputation and stigmatizing his or her child – or has recently experienced this and is desperate to remove such a record from anyone else seeing it.
In a Nutshell: Removing one’s name from the Megan’s Law Internet listing is not available for anyone who is a registered sex offender, but if one is convicted of an offense that does not neatly fit into one of the specified eligibility criteria, a good attorney can make a big difference.
Removing your name from the Internet is not available to everyone listed.  If the client was sentenced to state prison, removal is not available.  Otherwise, removal is only available for someone convicted of violating:
  1. Penal Code § 243.4(a) (Sexual Battery by Restraint);
  2. Penal Code § 647.6 (Misdemeanor Child Molestation, formerly 647a);
  3. A felony violation of certain child pornography laws set forth at Penal Code §§ 311.1 or 311.2(b), (c) or (d), 311.3 or 311.4, 311.10 or 311.1 if a certified copy of a probation report states the victims were at least sixteen years old;
  4. An offense that did not involve penetration or oral copulation;
  5. An offense that did not involve one’s child, stepchild, grandchild or sibling; and
  6. The individual has successfully completed probation or is successfully completing probation for the offense. 
The fourth category, with its three requirements, may seem quite broad, but it is worth noting what it necessarily excludes.  Probation is unavailable for anyone deemed a sexually violent predator under Welfare and Institutions Code § 6600 or anyone convicted of murder (Penal Code § 187), kidnapping (Penal Code § 207) or rape when accomplished through force or fear (Penal Code § 261), among other offenses.

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If one believes removal is possible, one must complete an Application for Exclusion from Internet Disclosure, form CJIS 4046D, and submit it to the California Department of Justice.  When one is basing their application on the fourth category described above (not involving 243.4, 647.6 or child pornography laws), one must submit a copy of a probation report, a pre-sentence report or other court documentation that shows the offense did not involve penetration or oral copulation and that the offense did not involve one’s child, stepchild, grandchild or sibling.  

In our experience, it is the fourth category that receives the most applications, as it is kind of a “catch all” category that allows someone to really plead the equities of why removal is appropriate.

A letter from the attorney who represented the client during the case is also acceptable and this where the client can present documentation showing rehabilitation, mitigating circumstances, how the conviction has affected the client and so forth.  Such a letter can be comprehensive, stating why removal from the list is “the right thing to do,” given how long the client has been publicly identified, the age of the client, the client’s employment situation, the client being barred from participating in community events (such as AYSO soccer, Boy Scouts, Little League, for example) and how the client’s name on the list has caused punishment to the client’s family. 

A ruling on the application typically takes thirty days.

For more information about sex offender registration issues under Penal Code § 290, click on the following articles:
  1. What Is a Certificate of Rehabilitation?
  2. Court Decides California Sex Offender Law Is Unconstitutional By Barring Those Convicted of Misconduct with Persons under 14 from Relief from PC 290 Registration
  3. Judge Makes Mistake in Ordering Sex Offender Registration After Sentencing for Felony Child Endangerment
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