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Megan's Law - Sex Offender Registration and Exclusion Information

Sex Offenders Tracking

The Sex Offender Tracking Program at the California Department of Justice (DOJ) maintains the registered sex offender database. That database is the basis for the information displayed on this Internet web site.

By law, persons convicted of specified sex crimes are required to register as sex offenders with a local law enforcement agency. Prior to release from prison, jail, a mental hospital, or on probation, sex offenders are notified in writing of their duty to register, and a copy of the notification form is forwarded to DOJ. When a sex offender is released into the community, the agency forwards the registration information to DOJ.

Registered sex offenders are required to update their information annually, within five working days of their birthday. Some sex offenders must update more often: transients must update every 30 days, and sexually violent predators, every 90 days. The Sex Offender Tracking Program keeps track of the next required update, and if a registered sex offender is in violation of the update requirements, the Internet web site will show the registrant as being in violation.

When registrants change their residence address or become homeless (transient), they are required to update their registration information within five days with a local agency, which forwards that information to DOJ. DOJ updates the registered sex offender database on a daily basis, based on information received from local agencies. DOJ also updates the registered sex offender information on this Internet web site on a daily basis.

Not every registered sex offender will appear on this Internet web site. As explained on the Summary of the Law page, approximately 25% of registered sex offenders are excluded from public disclosure by law. Whether public disclosure is permitted is based on the type of sex crime for which the person is required to register.

The Sex Offender Tracking Program is responsible for determining if any sex offender registrant who applies for exclusion from the Internet web site qualifies for exclusion. Registrants whose only registrable sex offenses are for the following offenses may apply for exclusion: (1) sexual battery by restraint (Penal Code 243.4, subd. (a)); (2) misdemeanor child molestation (Penal Code 647.6, or former section 647a); or (3) lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14 (Penal Code section 288) or continuous sexual abuse of a child (Penal Code 288.5), but only if the person convicted of section 288 or 288.5 successfully completed probation that was granted pursuant to Penal Code section 1203.066, subdivision (c). Click here for a copy of the exclusion form, which must be submitted to DOJ and approved before exclusion will be granted. Registered sex offenders who are granted exclusion from the Internet web site must still register as sex offenders.

DOJ's Sex Offender Tracking Program has been responsible for keeping track of registered sex offenders in California since registration began in 1947. California was the first state in the nation to enact a sex offender registration law. Many states did not enact sex offender registration laws until the 1990's. Due to its lifetime sex offender registration requirement and a population exceeding an estimated 35 million residents, California today has the largest number of registered sex offenders of any state.

California's Megan's Law was enacted in 1996, and allows local law enforcement agencies to notify the public about sex offender registrants found to be posing a risk to the public. Megan's Law is named after seven-year-old Megan Kanka, a New Jersey girl who was raped and killed by a known child molester who had moved across the street from the family without their knowledge. In the wake of the tragedy, the Kankas sought to have local communities warned about sex offenders in the area. All states now have some form of Megan's Law.
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