Summary of California Registration Laws

The California Sex Offender Registry at the California Department of Justice (DOJ) maintains the registered sex offender database. The database is the basis for the information displayed on this website.

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 who are required to register are notified in writing of their duty to register. This information is then forwarded to DOJ. When a sex offender is released into the community, he or she must register within 5 working days at the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over his or her residence. The registering agency forwards the registration information to DOJ.

Registered sex offenders are required to update their information annually with local law enforcement, within five working days before or after their birthday. Some sex offenders must update their information more often: transients must update every 30 days and sexually violent predators must update every 90 days. The California Sex Offender Registry keeps track of the next required update, and if a registered sex offender is in violation of the update requirements, this website will show the registrant as being in violation.

When registrants change their residence address or become transient (homeless), they are required to update their registration information within five working days with a local law enforcement agency. The local agency then forwards this information to DOJ. DOJ updates this website on a daily basis based upon the information received from local law enforcement agencies.

Pursuant to Penal Code § 290.46, sex offender information is displayed according to specific posting categories based upon conviction. The home address category requires that the home address of the offender be posted. The ZIP Code category requires that the offender’s ZIP Code, city and county be posted but not his or her home address. The conditional home address category requires that some offenders be moved from the ZIP Code category to the home address category upon conviction of another registrable offense. There is also a category of registered sex offenders that cannot, by law, be displayed on the Megan’s Law website. However, those offenders are still required to register as sex offenders with local law enforcement agencies. For statistical information regarding the number of registrants in each posting category, please visit the statistics page.

Certain offenders can apply to be excluded from this website pursuant to Penal Code § 290.46, subdivision (e). If the offense is a felony sexual battery (Penal Code § 243.4(a)), or a misdemeanor annoy/molest children (Penal Code § 647.6.), exclusion must be granted if there is no other registrable offense. An offender convicted of felony child pornography (Penal Code §§ 311.1, 311.2 subd. (b), (c), or (d), or Penal Code §§ 311.3, 311.4, 311.10, or 311.11), where the victim was at least 16 years or older, can also apply for exclusion. Offenders who successfully complete probation for an offense in which the victim was their child, stepchild, sibling, or grandchild, and which did not involve either oral copulation or penetration of the victim, may also be granted exclusion. Beginning January 1, 2012, exclusion cannot be granted unless the person’s risk level on the state static risk assessment instrument is low or moderate-low. Offenders in this category must also register as a sex offender with a local law enforcement agency.

The Department of Justice cannot vouch for sex offender information disclosed on alternate websites. Some sex offender websites retrieve information from non-official sources which may contain outdated or inaccurate information. The information contained in this site is updated daily and extracted from the statewide database used exclusively by law enforcement.