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California changes sex offender registry rules

In 2017, the California legislature voted to make changes to Megan's Law, which requires that sex offenders register with the state. The primary change was to reduce the amount of time a person must spend on the state sex offender list. The new law will place those on the sex offender list into three categories. Tier I will be used for those who have committed nonviolent felonies and misdemeanors.

They will be required to stay on the list for 10 years. Those who have committed violent felonies will be in Tier II and be required to stay on the list for 20 years. Repeat offenders will be placed in Tier III and be required to remain on the list for 30 years. Minors who are in Tier I will be on the sex offender list for five years. Those who study the concept of sex offender registries have expressed doubts that they are useful.

However, those who support the law claim that it helps to find felons even if the majority on the list are unlikely to commit another similar offense. The district attorney for Santa Barbara said that getting rid of the list would ultimately put the public in danger. Senate Bill 384 is expected to go into effect in 2021.

If an individual is convicted of exploiting children or other sexual offenses, he or she may spend time in jail or prison. It may also be necessary to become part of the sex offender registry. This may work to tarnish a person's personal and professional reputations. An attorney may help to dispute the charge and help a person obtain a favorable outcome. In some cases, this may mean obtaining a plea deal or having charges thrown out before trial.

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