PC290 Sex Offender Registration Relief FAQ

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 What is PC290 Registration Relief?

 Who is eligible for PC290 Registration Relief?

 What are the Tiers and the Minimum Registration Period (MRP) for each Tier?

 Can I stop registering if I meet the MRP?

 If I meet the MRP for my Tier, will I automatically be taken off the registry?

 What will PC290 Registration Relief do?

 What will PC290 Registration Relief NOT do?

 How do I know which tier I am in?

 What if the Department of Justice tells me they can’t figure out my Tier?

 What should I do if I think the Department of Justice has me in the wrong Tier?

 How is the Minimum Registration Period (MRP) counted?

 What can make my MRP longer?

 How do I get PC290 Registration Relief?

 When can I file a petition?

 Where do I file my petition for PC290 Registration Relief?

 What happens after I file and serve my petition?

 How much does it cost to request PC290 Registration Relief?

 Do I need a lawyer to file for PC290 Registration Relief?

 What if I want a lawyer to assist me?

 How long does it take to get a decision from the court after I file the petition for PC290 Registration Relief?

 Will there be a court hearing?

 If the judge tells me I no longer have to register, when can I stop?

 If a judge tells me I no longer have to register, how long will it take to have my information removed from the Megan’s Law website?

 What happens if the judge denies my petition?

 If a judge in California tells me I no longer have to register, do I have to register if I move to a different state?

 What can I do while waiting for the law to start?

 If I have questions, who can I contact for help?

 

What is PC290 Registration Relief?

Starting January 1, 2021, instead of lifetime sex offender registration, California will have a tiered registration system.  Depending primarily on the conviction for which a person was ordered to register, registrants will be placed into one of three Tiers.  Each Tier has a different minimum length of registration.  Registration times are called the “Minimum Registration Period” (MRP).  

If a person meets the requirements for registration relief and has met the minimum registration period for their Tier, they will be able to petition the court for permission to stop registering.

You may submit a petition for PC290 registration relief on or after your next birthday after July 1, 2021.

This law is still changing.  We will post changes on this website as we learn of them.  We recommend checking back for updates.

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Who is eligible for PC290 Registration Relief?

You may be eligible if:

·         You have registered for the Minimum Registration Period (MRP) for your Tier (including any extensions and pauses); and

·         You are not in custody; and

·         You are not on any parole, probation, mandatory supervision, or post release community supervision; and

·         You do not have pending charges which could extend the MRP or could change your Tier status; and

·         Your registration is current.

You are not yet eligible if:

·         You have not completed the MRP for your Tier (including any extensions and tolling); or

·         You are in custody; or

·         You are on any parole, probation, mandatory supervision, or post release community supervision; or

·         You have pending charges which could extend the MRP or could change your Tier status.

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What are the Tiers and the Minimum Registration Period (MRP) for each Tier?

There are three Tiers.  The MRP for each Tier depends on if the case for which you are required to register happened in adult court or juvenile court.

MRP refers to the MINIMUM amount of time you must have registered to be eligible to petition for relief.  It does not mean that is the maximum amount of time you have to register.

If the case for which you are required to register happened in adult court, the MRPs are:

                                                         MRPs for Adult Convictions ***

         

          Tier 1 = 10 years

         

          Tier 2 = 20 years

   

    Tier 3 = lifetime registration

If the case for which you are required to register was handled in juvenile court, the MRPs are:

                                                         MRPs for Juvenile Cases ***

 

          Tier 1 = 5 years

 

          Tier 2 = 10 years

   

      Tier 3 = really doesn’t apply to juvenile offenders

*** There are special rules for some people which may allow them to petition early even if they have not met the MRP for their designated Tier.   ***

We recommend you consult with a lawyer to determine your correct Tier.  While the California Department of Justice is tasked with determining each persons’ Tier, it is a good idea to verify if the placement is correct.   We also recommend you consult with a lawyer to determine if you may qualify to petition early.  You may contact the Fresh Start Program for assistance.

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Can I stop registering if I meet the MRP?

NO!  You must first file a petition AND then have a judge say you no longer have to register before you can stop.  Until a judge says you are no longer required to register, continue to register as required by PC290.

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If I meet the MRP for my Tier, will I automatically be taken off the registry?

NO!  The law requires you to ask a judge if you can stop registering.  You must first file a petition AND then have a judge say you no longer have to register before you can stop.  Until a judge says you are no longer required to register, continue to register as required by PC290.

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What will PC290 Registration Relief do?

·         If you are granted PC290 registration relief, you will no longer be required to register in California.

·         If information about you is posted on the Megan’s Law website, it will be removed.

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What will PC290 Registration Relief NOT do?

·         Guarantee you will not have to register in another state if you move out of California

·         Dismiss your case

·         Expunge your case

·         Reduce your case to a misdemeanor

·         Seal your case

·         Take the case off your record

·         Restore your rights to own or possess a firearm or ammunition

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How do I know which Tier I am in?

Generally, your Tier is determined by the offense for which you are required to register.  However, there are some exceptions.

Starting January 1, 2021, you can ask the law enforcement agency where you register to tell you your Tier from the California Department of Justice records. Once you get this information, we strongly encourage you to contact the Fresh Start Program or a lawyer familiar with this area of law to confirm the information is correct.  Tier placement is complicated and there are special rules for some people which could move them into a different Tier.

In the meantime, you may also apply to the Fresh Start Program.  We will order your California Department of Justice Criminal History Report and try to figure out your Tier based on the information we receive.   We may also be able to assist with other forms of criminal record relief.

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What if the Department of Justice tells me they can’t figure out my Tier?

Sometimes, particularly if the conviction for which you are required to register is from a different state, the Department of Justice may need more time to figure out your Tier.  The law allows them to put you in a “to be determined” category and gives them up to two years to figure it out.

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What should I do if I think the Department of Justice has me in the wrong Tier?

We strongly encourage you to contact the Fresh Start Program or a lawyer familiar with this area of law to confirm your Tier placement.  Tier placement is complicated and there are special rules for some people which could move them into a different Tier.  We may be able to go to court for you to correct the information.

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How is the Minimum Registration Period (MRP) counted?

The MRP begins the date you are released from custody on the registerable offense.

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What can make my MRP longer?

Being convicted of failing to register and/or spending time in jail and/or prison may mean you have to wait longer to be eligible to petition for PC290 registration relief.

Convictions for failure to register will extend your MRP.

If you have misdemeanor failure to register convictions your MRP will be extended by one year for each failure to register conviction.  For example, if you are in Tier I, your MRP would be 10 years.   If, however, you have had two failure to register misdemeanor convictions, 1 year is added to your MRP for each conviction.  Thus, your MRP would now be 10 + 1 + 1 = 12 years.

If you have felony failure to register convictions, your MRP will be extended by three years for each felony failure to register conviction.  For example, if you are in Tier I, your MRP would be 10 years.  If, however, you have two felony failure to register convictions, 3 years is added to your MRP for each conviction.  Thus, your MRP would now be 10 + 3 + 3 = 16 years.

We recommend you contact the Fresh Start Program so we can assist you in determining if your MRP has been extended.

Time spent in jail or prison may not count toward your MRP.

If you spent time in jail or prison for any offense (including probation violations/parole violations/etc.) after you were ordered to register, that time does not count toward the MRP.  This process is called tolling.

For example, if you have been registering for 10 years, but during those 10 years you were in jail for a year, the year in jail does not count toward your MRP.  You would need to wait another year to be eligible to petition for PC290 registration relief.

The tolling only happens if a judge ordered you to serve time in jail or prison or actually found you in violation of probation, parole, mandatory supervision, or post release community supervision.  So, if you were arrested, served a couple of days in jail, and then released and you were never prosecuted for that arrest, these days will not toll your MRP.   If you were arrested and prosecuted, but the case was dismissed or you were found not guilty, these days you spent in jail will not toll your MRP.  But, if you were convicted or found in violation of probation, parole, mandatory supervision, or post release community supervision, any time you spent in jail or prison for that conviction or violation will not count toward your MRP.

Tolling can be complicated to figure out.  We recommend you contact the Fresh Start Program so we can estimate any tolling which may apply to you.

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How do I get PC290 Registration Relief?

Starting July 1, 2021, you need to file a petition in court in the California county where you live.  The courts are working on a specific form, but it is not ready yet.

You must attach proof you are currently registered to the petition.  You can get proof of current registration from the law enforcement agency where you register.  They must give you a free copy.

You must then serve a copy of the petition and a copy of your proof of current registration on the law enforcement agency and the prosecuting agency (generally, the district attorney’s office) of the county where you live.  

If you were convicted in a different county than where you currently live, you must ALSO serve copies of the petition and proof of current registration on the law enforcement and prosecuting agencies in the county where you were convicted.

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When can I file a petition?

If your MRP is over and it has not been extended because of later failure to register convictions or time in jail or prison, you may file a petition starting July 1, 2021.

The courts will not accept petitions until July 1, 2021.  If you try to file a petition before that date, the court will not take it.

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Where do I file my petition for PC290 Registration Relief?

If you live in California, you must file the petition with the court in the county where you LIVE.  If you live in San Diego County, file:

·         A petition based solely on a juvenile case requiring registration: Juvenile Court, 2851 Meadowlark Drive, San Diego, California 92123

·         A petition based on adult case: Central Courthouse, 1110 Union Street, San Diego, California 92101.

The court will start accepting petitions JULY 1, 2021.  You cannot file a petition before that date.

You must give a copy of the petition to:

·         the prosecuting agency (generally district attorney) in the county where you LIVE; and

·         the law enforcement agency where you register.

If your case was prosecuted in a California county different from where you live, you must also give a copy of the petition to:

·         the prosecuting agency (generally district attorney) in the county where you were convicted; and

·         the law enforcement agency in the county where you were convicted.

Failure to give your petition to the correct court, prosecuting agencies or law enforcement agencies will delay or even make your petition invalid.

If you live outside California or if the conviction for which you are required to register occurred in a different state, the procedures are still being worked out.  We will update this website as we learn more.

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What happens after I file and serve my petition?

The law enforcement agency will research your case to see if you meet the MRP for your Tier and if you meet the other eligibility requirements (that is, you are not on any kind of supervision, you do not have any pending cases which could extend your tier status, you are in custody) (Click for more information on eligibility: Who is eligible for PC290 Registration Relief?).   

The law enforcement agency has 60 days from the day you give them the petition to give their report to the court and the prosecution agency.    (If during their investigation, the law enforcement agency finds information about a new conviction, they can ask for up to four more months to investigate before giving their report to the court and the prosecution agency.)

Once the prosecution agency receives the report from the law enforcement agency, the prosecuting agency then has another 60 days to decide if they are going to agree or challenge your petition.

The prosecution agency may challenge the petition if they believe:

·         you have not met the MRP; or

·         you are ineligible because you are on some kind of supervision (probation, parole, mandatory supervision, post release community supervision); or

·         you are ineligible because you are in custody; or

·         you are ineligible because you have pending charges which could extend your MRP or change your Tier; or

·         you did not file and serve your petition correctly; or

·         “community safety would be significantly enhanced by” your continued registration.

If the prosecution does not challenge the petition AND you otherwise meet the qualifications, the judge must grant your petition.

If the prosecution challenges the petition, the judge will decide if you may stop registering.

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How much does it cost to request PC290 Registration Relief?

Nothing.  There is no court fee for filing a petition for PC290 Registration Relief.

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Do I need a lawyer to file for PC290 Registration Relief?

Not necessarily, but we highly recommend having one.  A lawyer can figure out your correct Tier, if you meet the MRP, and if you are otherwise eligible for relief.   If the prosecution decides to challenge your petition, a lawyer can help argue to the judge to grant your petition.

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What if I want a lawyer to assist me?

While you do not need a lawyer, you may want one.  You may hire a lawyer, or our office may be able to help you at no cost.  Our experienced attorneys will review your entire record and determine what relief you are eligible for.  Some petitions for PC290 Registration Relief are more complicated and the judge needs to see additional information to make a decision.  Our office can assist you by researching your record, confirming which Tier you should be in, determining if you meet the minimum registration period, writing petitions, motions and declarations, filing petitions, motions, and declarations in court, serving the petition on the prosecutorial and law enforcement agencies, and appearing in court, if necessary, to argue for the PC290 Registration Relief.

If you would like our office to assist you, fill out and submit the Fresh Start Program Request for Assistance form. 

You may e-mail, fax, mail, or drop off your request form.    

Office of the Public Defender                      E-mail: Fresh.Start@sdcounty.ca.gov

Fresh Start Program                                    Fax:  (619) 338-4811 (Attn: Fresh Start Program)

450 B Street, Suite 900                               

San Diego, CA  92101

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How long does it take to get a decision from the court after I file the petition for PC290 Registration Relief?

We don’t entirely know, but it will likely take a minimum of four months.  Here is why.

Once you give your petition to the law enforcement agency, they have up to 60 days to investigate and send their report to the prosecuting agency and the court.  (If during their investigation, the law enforcement agency finds information about a new conviction, they can ask for up to four more months to investigate before giving their report to the court and the prosecution agency.)

Once the prosecuting agency receives the report from the law enforcement agency, the prosecuting agency then has another 60 days to decide if they are going to agree or challenge your petition.

If the prosecuting agency agrees with your petition, they will notify the court and the court will need to review your petition and make the final decision.

If the prosecuting agency disagrees with your petition, they will notify the court and the court will need to have a court hearing to make a final decision.

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Will there be a court hearing?

Maybe.  The court process is still being worked out.

The prosecutor may request a hearing if the prosecutor concludes that:

·         you have not met the MRP; or

·         you are ineligible because you are on some kind of supervision (probation, parole, mandatory supervision, post release community supervision); or

·         you are ineligible because you are in custody; or

·         you are ineligible because you have pending charges which could extend your MRP or change your Tier; or

·         you did not file and serve your petition correctly; or

·         “community safety would be significantly enhanced by” your continued registration.

 

At the hearing, the judge will review appropriate information to decide if you may stop registering.

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If the judge tells me I no longer have to register, when can I stop?

You may stop registering as soon as the judge signs the court order.

The Court will send the order to the Department of Justice.  It may take some time for the court order to make it to the Department of Justice and for the Department of Justice to update their records.  In the meantime, we recommend you keep a copy of the court order with you in case law enforcement questions you about your registration status.

The Department of Justice estimates they will have their records updated between 30-90 days after they receive the court order.  The Department of Justice will send you a letter when the record has been updated.

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If a judge tells me I no longer have to register, how long will it take to have my information removed from the Megan’s Law website?

The Department of Justice estimates they will have their records updated between 30-90 days after they receive the court order.  The Department of Justice will send you a letter when the record has been updated.

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What happens if the judge denies my petition?

If the judge decides not to end your registration requirement, you must keep registering.

You may be able to petition again later.  The judge is required to tell you how long you must wait before you can petition again.  The judge can tell you to wait anywhere from 1 to 5 years from the date the judge denies your petition.  The judge must explain why you must wait.  

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If a judge in California tells me I no longer have to register, do I have to register if I move to a different state?

We do not know.  Each state has different rules for sex offender registration.  We recommend you contact a public defender or lawyer in the state where you are considering relocating for advice.

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What can I do while waiting for the law to start?

·         Keep your registration current

·         Stay out of trouble

·         Contact Fresh Start to get advice on which Tier you may be in and your estimated MRP end date.

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If I have questions, who can I contact for help?

Please call the Office of the Primary Public Defender at (619) 338-4700 and ask to speak to someone from the Fresh Start Program.  The Office of the Primary Public Defender will assist you even if you had an attorney from the Office of the Alternate Public Defender, a court appointed panel attorney, or you retained an attorney and now cannot afford to pay the attorney for assistance.  You may also e-mail a question to Fresh.Start@sdcounty.ca.gov

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