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Sex Crimes: New Law Changes Sentencing For Sex Offenders

Learn how California's new law SB 384 affects sex crimes

Sex Crimes: California’s SB 384

Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into effect “SB 384” which calls for a new system that categorizes sex offenders into different levels based on the severity of their sex crimes. Since 1947, the law requiring convicted sex offenders to register for the rest of their lives has remained unaltered and unchanged. The present and unchanged law requires convicted and eligible Penal Code section 290 sex offenders to register with local law enforcement agencies. Their registration is then made public and the state constantly monitors their whereabouts.

The new law titled SB 384 does not go into effect until January 1, 2021 and will include three tiers. The first tier will allow convicted defendants to petition to be removed from the list after 10 years. The second tier will allow convicted defendants to petition for removal from the list after 20 years. The third tier, reserved for those convicted of serious and/or violent sex crimes, remains unchanged and will require individuals to register for life.

SB 384 creates a tailored gradient for sex crimes.   Not all alleged sex crimes that are Penal Code section 290 eligible are the same. Before SB 384, all offenders from two seventeen year olds convicted of having consensual sex to aged adults who have committed multiple violent sex offenses on minors would be registered for the same period of time for all the community to see. While sex offenses are and should be taken extremely seriously, this law promotes fairness within the system and avoids harsh unwarranted consequences.

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