When a person contacts our office to inquire about “getting off the sex offender registration list” or ending the registration requirement, the most common question one first asks us is what tier the person fall under: Tier One, Tier Two or Tier Three. The next calculation is adding ten or twenty years to the date one was released from prison, jail or a civil commitment and was first required to register while on parole, probation or post-release community supervision. Most people then automatically assume that these two steps complete the analysis.
This would be wrong because we then ask about whether there was anything that could have lengthened or “tolled” the registration period. The caller to our office is usually surprised that we ask about these four things, but if we did not and one or more of these did apply, the client’s petition would otherwise unexpectedly be denied.
In a Nutshell: There are four events that can add to the length of time a sex offender must register and before which he or she can request, under SB 384, termination of one’s obligation to register.
Four things can lengthen one’s minimum registration period of either ten or twenty years from the date one completes probation, PRCS, parole or civil commitment to a state hospital for the registrable offense. Penal Code § 290(e).
The first and most obvious event is a new sex offense conviction, as this will begin the mandatory reporting period anew and may even cause reclassification of the offender’s tier level from Tier One to Tier Two, or Tier Two to Tier Three, depending upon the offenses at issue. The new mandatory reporting period will then anew start upon completion of one’s jail or prison sentence for the new offense and when released on parole, post-release community supervision (PRCS) or probation for the second offense.
Second and less obvious is a conviction for failing to report as a registered sex offender under Penal Code § 290. This conviction can be a misdemeanor or a felony. If convicted of a felony for failing to report, the minimum registration period is extended by three years; if a misdemeanor, it is extended one year. In many cases, a person may have several such convictions.
Third, the ten-year or twenty-year period is extended (tolled) when one is in custody for any subsequent charge that results in a conviction. If the charge does not result in a conviction, revocation of parole, probation or PRCS, or commitment (civil), the time in custody is not “counted” to extend the registration period before SB 384 eligibility.
Likewise, if one is committed to a state hospital for any reason, i.e., 5150, that time in in the hospital will toll the registration period “clock” measuring ten or twenty years.
Fourth, while this does not appear to be an issue, but Penal Code § 290(e) states it can be, the time period “counting” as being registered does not count gaps in registration that are not prosecuted. For example, one must register with local law enforcement under 290 on one’s birthday each year. If one fails to register one year for a month for some reason, that month would technically count as a gap in registration, extending one’s deadline to complete ten or twenty years, even if one is not prosecuted for this failure to register.
A last note on these four types of events that can add to the registration period or toll one’s clock for eligibility to end registration: law enforcement records in this regard can be inaccurate. As we like to say, just because a person wears a uniform, has a badge and cuts his hair short does not mean he is always right (or tells the truth). It is smart to carefully double-check any law enforcement records that claim to extend or toll one’s registration period.
For more information about SB 384, please click on the following articles: