Facing criminal charges is difficult in any situation. However, when the accusation deals with a sex crime it can be even more so. Such crimes act as a direct attack on a person’s reputation. They can forever stain a person’s standing in society. Finding a job is already difficult in the country’s economic times. Adding the label of a sex offender can make it almost impossible.
As society often sees these individuals as particularly dangerous, there is the added stigma against hiring a person with this kind of record. However, sometimes this stigma is not warranted. In some cases, a person made an honest mistake that should entirely devastate their future. In other cases, a person learns from their past and reforms into a law-abiding citizen. Whatever the case, these individuals deserve a second chance. That second chance could be possible with assistance from a San Francisco criminal defense attorney at our firm.
When an individual is convicted of a sex crime, they are required to register as such. A person must register to the state’s database that is run by the Department of Justice’s Sex Offender Tracking Program. They do so through their local law enforcement agency.
By law, anyone who has a duty to register must update their information every year—within 5 working days of their birthday. If they move, they have 5 working days to check into the nearby police station and update their new address and zip code. Anyone who is considered to be a transient—or homeless—individual must update every 30 days and anyone who is considered to be a sexually violent predator must do so every 90 days. If any individual does not update on time, the database and corresponding internet site will show the violation.
This database is posted online for public viewing. The intent behind the open and unrestricted access to this information is to inform the local community of any possible danger. This became law in California in 1996. The legislation—Megan’s Law—was enacted after Megan Kanka, a seven-year-old, was raped and murdered by a known sex offender. The Kanka family was not aware that this man had moved across the street from them, and was therefore ignorant of the danger. However, not every last offender is listed on the internet. In fact, about 25 percent of registered offenders are not visible to the public. There are a number of requirements that an offender must meet to be excluded from the internet site.
If you have been convicted of a sex crime and are looking to have your information removed from the Megan’s Law website or you are hoping that it will not go on the site at all, there are a number of options available to you. Not all offenses will require your information to be displayed on the internet. The type of offense that may qualify you for qualifications include:
If you do not qualify for an exclusion, you can still make efforts to have your records sealed. You can apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation. This is essentially a petition to clean up your record so that the information about a particular crime cannot be used against you by an employer. You can apply for this certificate seven to ten years after you were released or completed probation. For San Francisco residents, you must have been a California resident for at least 5 years just prior to applying. If you have any questions regarding this process, we would like to help.
Okabe & Haushalter is San Francisco’s premier criminal defense team. We will work aggressively to have your information removed from the Megan’s Law website so that you can go back to living a normal life again. Call us today to see what we can do for you!