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California criminal convictions frequently result in the imposition of penalties such as jail or prison time, fines, probation, license suspension, and community service.  However, sex crimes are unique in that, for many offenses, convicted offenders are also required to register as sex offenders.  Our Ventura sex crime attorneys explain whether you must register as a sex offender if you are convicted of rape under Cal. Penal Code § 261.

California Rape, Spousal Rape, and Statutory Rape Statutes

In California, suspected acts of rape are prosecuted under Cal. Penal Code § 261, which is explained in detail in our article on California rape laws.  This statute defines rape as “an act of sexual intercourse accomplished with a person [other than] the spouse of the perpetrator” under non-consensual circumstances, including but not limited to using force, acting against an unconscious person, or preventing resistance with drugs or alcohol.

Cal. Penal Code § 261 applies specifically to cases involving adults, other than the defendant’s spouse.  There are also two other common types of rape charges under California’s criminal code:

  • Rape committed against one’s spouse, which is called marital rape or spousal rape, and which is prosecuted under Cal. Penal Code § 262.
  • Statutory rape, which is also called “unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor” and which involves sexual intercourse with persons under the age of 18.  In California, statutory rape is prosecuted under Cal. Penal Code § 261.5.

Which Crimes Require You to Register as a Sex Offender in California?

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An offense for which the convicted individual must register as a sex offender – a requirement of California’s Megan’s Law, which was passed by the Legislature in 2004 – is known as a “registrable sexual offense.”  All of the following are registrable sex offenses in California:

  • Assault with intent to commit rape (Cal. Penal Code § 220(a)(1))
  • Assault with intent to commit rape during a burglary (Cal. Penal Code § 220(b))
  • Kidnapping to commit rape or spousal rape (Cal. Penal Code § 209(b)(1))
  • Murder “which is committed in the perpetration of, or attempt to perpetrate” rape (Cal. Penal Code § 189)
  • Rape (Cal. Penal Code § 261)
  • Spousal rape by force or fear (Cal. Penal Code § 262(a)(1))

If you are convicted of any of the offenses on the list above, you will be required to register as a sex offender.  These offenses are enumerated under Cal. Penal Code § 290(c).  You can also view a full list through the California State Assembly.

Unlike rape and spousal rape, statutory rape is not currently a registerable offense in the state of California.  However, there are several related offenses involving sexual acts with children and minors for which registration is mandatory.  These offenses include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Continuous sexual abuse of a child (Cal. Penal Code § 288.5(a))
  • Enticing a minor female for prostitution (Cal. Penal Code § 266)
  • Lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 (Cal. Penal Code § 288(a))
  • Lewd or lascivious acts with a child 14 or 15 years old (Cal. Penal Code § 288(c))

Other sex offenses which require registration as a sex offender in California include:

  • Sexual battery (Cal. Penal Code § 243.4)
  • Sodomy (Cal. Penal Code § 286(a))

Mandatory registration as a sex offender is a dreaded penalty, for good reason.  Not only does registration affect major aspects of your daily life, it can also have profoundly negative effects on your relationships with friends, family members, romantic partners, and others, irreversibly altering the way your peers and loved ones perceive you.

Moreover, failure to register as a sex offender is a criminal offense in California.  If the underlying sex crime was a misdemeanor, failure to register is also a misdemeanor, subject to a jail sentence of up to one year.  If the underlying offense was a felony, or if you have previously been convicted of a sex offense, the failure to register is a felony.

Ventura Sex Crime Defense Attorneys Handling Sexual Assault Cases

Being accused of committing a sex crime is a devastating and deeply isolating experience.  You may feel lost and overwhelmed right now, but know that an aggressive, knowledgeable, and experienced Ventura criminal defense lawyer is here to counsel and defend you at every stage of your case.

If were accused of rape, spousal rape, statutory rape, sexual battery, sodomy, or other sex crimes in Ventura County or Santa Barbara County, the renowned legal team at Bamieh & De Smeth can provide immediate assistance.  We have over 22 years of experience handling felony sex offenses in California, and know what sorts of defense strategies to utilize in these complex cases.  For a free and completely confidential legal consultation, call The Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC at (805) 585-5056.

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The Law Offices of Bamieh & Erickson, PLC

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