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Megans Law

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Newport Beach Megan’s Law Attorney

What is Megan’s Law?

Megan’s Law is named after seven year old Megan Kanka, a New Jersey girl who was raped and killed by a registered sex offender who had moved across the street from the family without their knowledge. In the wake of this tragedy, state legislatures enacted laws that require information about known sex offenders to be available online. Every state, including California, has a version of Megan’s Law. As of 2004 in California, Megan’s Law has enabled the public to view information about sex offenders required to register under Penal Code section 290. The intent behind the law is to protect communities, not punish sex registrants. However, a sex registrant who finds his name on the Megan’s Law site is being continuously “punished” even if the courts don’t consider it punishment.

Who is listed under Megan’s Law and what information is available?

Although every sex offender listed under Megan’s Law is required to register under Penal Code section 290, the opposite isn’t true. In other words, not everybody who has to register pursuant to Penal Code section 290 will have their information published under Megan’s Law. There are specific sex offenses that Megan’s Law targets. Every sex offender who qualifes for Megan’s Law will have their name, picture, physical description including race and gender, date of birth and criminal history published, along with any other information that the DOJ deems relevant. However, information regarding victims will never be published and information regarding an offender’s employment will never be published. Only some offenders will have their home address published. Megan’s Law divides offenders into three categories to determine who has their home address published along with all the other informatoin.

Home Address Category – This is the most severe category. It requires that the home address of the sex registrant be published along with other information about the sex registrant. Sex registrants convicted of a sex crime outlined in Penal Code section 290.46(b) fall into this category. These sex offenses include, but are not limited to:

  • homicide, robbery or kidnapping to commit rape, sodomy, oral copulation, sexual penetration or child molestation
  • certain types of rape – where it is accomplished against a person’s will by force, violence, duress, menace or fear of bodily injury, or by threatening to retaliate in the future against the victim or another person. (Does not include rape by intoxicating substance, rape of an unconscious person, rape by duplicity in a professional setting).
  • Aggravated sexual assault on a child
  • Certain types of sodomy and oral copulation – usually those that involve a young victim under the age of 14 or those that are done against a person’s will
  • Certain child pornography offenses – many of these offenses require a felony conviction in order to be included in this category of Megan’s Law.

For a more thorough list of crimes that are included in this category, please review California Penal Code section 290.46(b).

Conditional Home Address Category – People in this category would normally not have their home address published UNLESS they have a conviction for any other sex offense under Penal Code section 290. In that case, their information would be published as if they were in the Home Address Category. Examples of crimes listed in Penal Code section 290.46(c) include, but are not limited to:

  • assault with intent to rape, sodomize, orally copulate
  • certain types of rape, sodomy or oral copulation

People convicted of these crimes that do not have a prior conviction for a registerable sex offense still fall under Megan’s Law, but their home address isn’t published. These people would then be similar to the last category.

Zip Code Category – Sex registrants convicted of sex offenses outlined in Penal Code section 290.46(d) will have their zip code published, along with other information, but not their home address. Examples of these offenses include:

  • felony sexual battery
  • misdemeanor child molestation where the child is 14 or 15 and the defendant is at least 10 years older, pursuant to Penal Code section 288(c)
  • misdemeanor annoying / molesting a child, pursuant to Penal Code section 647.6

Undisclosed Category – If a sex registrant is convicted of a sex offense that is not listed in Penal Code section 290.46(b), (c) or (d), then the sex registrant’s information is NOT included in the Megan’s Law website. However, the sex registrant is still required to register as a sex offender with law enforcement. Examples include:

  • indecent exposure pursuant to Penal Code section 314
  • misdemeanor sexual battery pursuant to Penal Code section 243.4
  • misdemeanor child pornography pursuant to Penal Code sections 311.11, 311.2(c), 311.3, 311.4(a) and 311.11

Excluded Category – Certain sex offenders whose information is listed on the Megan’s Law site can apply to have their information removed. The only sex offenses that qualify for this application are either felony sexual battery (Penal Code section 243.4) or misdemeanor child annoyance / molestation (Penal Code section 647.6). These sections merit mandatory removal as long as the sex registrant has no other registerable sex offense on their record. Removal is discretionary where the sex offense is felony child pornography and the victim is at least 16 years old, or where the sex offense involved a relative, did not involve penetration or oral copulation and the sex offender successfully completed probation or is currently successfully completing probation.

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