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I am commonly asked, "What happens if I have to register as a sex offender?"  This is a perfectly acceptable questions, and the answers, or at least in part, are spelled out by statute.  However, this is just a small part of what sex offender registry entails, but it is a good starting point for a person to familiarize themselves with prior to making any life altering decisions.  It deal mainly with the operation, limits, and information available over the sex offender registry hot line or the "900" number that was enacted by legislation.

PC 290.4 (a)(1) The Department of Justice shall continually compile information as described in paragraph (2) regarding any person required to register under Section 290 for a conviction of Section PC 207 or PC 209 committed with the intent to violate Section PC 261, PC 286, 288a, or 289; Section 220, except assault to commit mayhem; Section 243.4 provided that the offense is a felony; paragraph (1), (2), (3), (4), or (6) of subdivisions (a) of Section 261; Section 264.1; Section 284 or 286 , provided that the offense is a felony; Section 266c, provided that the offense is a felony; Section 266j; Section 267; Section 269; paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 286, provided that the offense is a felony; paragraph (2) of subdivisions (b), subdivisions (c), (d), (f), (g), (i), (j), or (k) of section 286; Section 288; paragraph (1) of subdivisions (b) of Section 288a, provided that the offense is a felon; paragraph(2) of subdivisions (b), (c), (d), (f), (g), (i), (j), or (k) of Section 288a; Section 288.5; subdivisions (a), (b), (d), (e), (f), (g), or (h) of section 289, provided that the offense is a felony; subdivisions 9i) or (j) of section 289; Section 647.6; or the attempted commission of any of these offenses; or the statutory predecessor of any of these offenses or any offense which, if committed or attempted in this state, would have been punishable as one or more of the offenses described in this section.  This requirement shall not be applied to a person whose duty to register has been terminated pursuant to paragraph (5) of subdivisions (d) of Section 290, or to a person who has been relieved of his or her duty to register under Section 290.5.

(2) The information shall be categorized by community of residence and zip code.  The information shall include the names and known aliases of the person, a photograph,  a physical description, gender, race, date of birth, the criminal history, and the address, including ZIP Code, in which the person resides, and any other information that the Department of Justice deems relevant, not including information that would identify the victim.

(3) The department shall operate a "900" telephone number that member of the public may call and inquire whether a named individual is listed among those described in this subdivisions.  The caller shall furnish his or her first name, middle initial, and last name.  The department shall ascertain whether a named person reasonably appears to be a person so listed and provide the caller with the information described in paragraph (2), except the department shall not disclose the name or address of a listed person's employer, or the street address or criminal history of a person listed, except to disclose the ZIP Code area in which the person resides and to to describe the specific crimes for which the registrant was required to register.  The department shall decide whether the named person reasonably appears to be a person listed, based upon information from the caller providing information that shall include (A) an exact street address, including apartment number, social security number, California driver's license or identification number, or birth date along with additional information that may include any of the following: Name, hair color, eye color, height, weight, distinctive marking, ethnicity; or (B), any combination of at least six of the above-listed characteristics if an exact birth date or address is not available.  If three of the characteristics provided including ethnicity, hair color, and eye color, a seventh identifying characteristic shall be provided.  Any information identifying the victim by name, birth date, address, or relation to the registrant shall be excluded by the department.

(4)(A) The department shall provide a CD-ROM or other electronic medium containing the information described in paragraph (2), except the name or address of a listed person's employer, or the listed listed person's street address and criminal history other than the specific crimes for which the person was required to register, for all persons described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a), and shall update and distribute the DC-ROM or other electronic medium, to the sheriff's department in each county, municipal police departments of cities with a population of more than 200,000, and each law enforcement agency listed in sub paragraph (I) of paragraph (1) of subdivisions (b) of Section 290.45, except that school district police departments may receive the information only upon request.  These law enforcement agencies may obtain additional copies by purchasing a yearly subscription to the DC-ROM or other electronic medium from the Department of Justice for a yearly subscription fee.  The Department of Justice, the sheriffs' departments, and the municipal police departments of cities with a population of more than 200,000 shall make, and the other law enforcement agencies may make, the CD-ROM or other electronic medium available for viewing by the public in accordance with the following: The agency may require that a person that the person applying to view the CD-ROM or other electronic medium express an articulable purpose in order to have access thereto.  The applicant shall provide identification in the form of a California Driver's License, California ID card, or military identification card and orders with proof of permanent assignment or attachment to a military command or vessel in California, showing the applicant to be at least 18 years of age.  The applicant shall sign the statement on a car form provided by the Department of Justice, stating that the applicant is not a registered sex offender, that he or she understands the purpose of the release of information is to allow members of the public to protect themselves and their children from sex offenders, and he or she understands it is unlawful to use information  obtained  from the CD-ROM or other electronic medium to commit a crime against any registrant or to engage in illegal discrimination or harassment of any registrant.  Th signed statement shall be maintained in a file in the designated law enforcement agency's office.  A person under 18 years of age may accompany an applicant who is that persons' parent or legal guardian for the purpose of viewing the CD-ROM or other electronic medium.

(B) The records of persons requesting to view the CD-ROM or other electronic medium are confidential, except that a copy of the applications requesting to view the CD-ROM or other electronic medium may be disclosed to law enforcement agencies for law enforcement purposes.

(C) Any information identifying the victim by name, birth date, address, or relationship to the registrant shall be excluded from the CD-ROM or other electronic medium.

(5)(A) The income from the operation of the "900" telephone number  shall be deposited in the Sexual Predator Public information Account within the Department of Justice for the purpose of the implementation of the section by the Department of Justice including all actual and reasonable costs related to establishing and maintaining the information described in subdivisions (a) and the CD-ROM or other electronic medium described in this subdivisions.

(B) The moneys in the Sexual Predator Public Information Account shall consist of income from the operation of the "900" telephone number program authorized by this section, proceeds of the loan made pursuant to Section 6 of the act adding this section, and any other funds made available to the account by the Legislature. Moneys in the account shall be available to the Department of Justice Upon appropriation by the Legislature for the purpose of specified in sub paragraph (A).

(C) When the "900" telephone number is called, a preamble shall be played before charges begin to accrue.  Th preamble shall run at least the length of time required by federal law and shall provide the following information:

(i) Notice that the caller's telephone number will be recorded.

(ii) The charges for use of the "900" telephone number.

(iii) Notice that the caller is required to identify himself or herself to the operator.

(iv) Notice that the caller is required to be 18 years of age or older

(v) A warning that it is illegal to use information obtained through the "900" telephone number to commit a crime against any registrant or to engage in illegal discrimination or harassment against any registrant.

(vi) Notice that the caller is required to have the birth date, CA driver's license or identification number, social security number, address, or other identifying information regarding the person about whom information is sought in order to achieve a positive identification of that person

(vii) A statement that the number is not a crime hotline and that any suspected criminal activity should be reported to a local authorities.

(viii) A statement that the caller should have a reasonable suspicion that a person is at risk.

(D) The Department of Justice shall expend no more than six hundred thousand dollars ($600,000) per year from any moneys appropriated by the Legislature from the account.

(b)(1) Any person who uses information disclosed pursuant to this section to commit a felony shall be punished, in additional  and consecutive to, any other punishment, by a five-year  term of imprisonment in the state prison.

(2) Any person who, without authorization, uses information disclosed pursuant to this section to commit a misdemeanor shall be subject to, in addition to any other penalty or fine imposed, a fine of not less than five-hundred dollars ($500) and not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000).

(c) The record of the compilation of offender information on each CD-ROM or other electronic medium distributed pursuant to this section shall be used only for law enforcement purposes and the public safety purposes specified in this section and Sections 290 and 290.45, or any other statute expressly authorizing it.

Any person who copies, distributes, discloses, or receives the record or information from it, except as authorized by law, is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed six months, or by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.  This subdivision shall not apply to a law enforcement officer who makes a copy as part of his or her official duties in the course of a criminal investigation, court case, or as otherwise authorized by subdivision (b) of Section 290.45.  This subdivision shall not prohibit copying information by handwriting.

Notwithstanding Section 6254.5 of the Government Code, disclosure of information pursuant to this section is not a waiver of exemptions under Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Title 1 of Divisions 7 of the Government code and does not affect other statutory restrictions on disclosure in other situations.

(d) Unauthorized removal or destruction of the CD-ROM or other electronic medium from the offices of any law enforcement agency is a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) or by both that imprisonment and fine.

(e)(1) A person is authorized to use information disclosed pursuant to this section only to protect a person at risk.

This section shall not affect authorized access to, or use of, information pursuant to, among other provisions, Section 11105 and 11105.3 of this code, Section 226.55 of the Civil Code, Sections 777.5 and 14409.2 of the Financial Code, Sections 1522.01 and 1596.871 of the Health and Safety code, and Section 432.7 of the Labor Code.

(2) Except as authorized under paragraph (1) or any other provisions of law, use of an information that is disclosed pursuant to this section for purposes relating to any of the following is prohibited:

(A) Health Insurance

(B) Insurance

(D) Loans

(E) Credit

(F) Education, scholarships, or fellowships

(G) Housing or accommodations

(H) Benefits, privileges, or services provided by any business establishment.

(3) (A) Any use of information disclosed pursuant to this section for purposes other than those provided by paragraph (1) or in violation of paragraph (2) shall make the user liable for the actual damages, and any amount that may be determined by a jury or a court sitting without a jury, not exceeding three times tha mount of actual damage and not less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250), and attorney's fees, exemplary damages, or a civil penalty not exceeding twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000).

(B) Whenever there is reasonable cause to believe that any person or group of persons is engaged in a pattern or practice of misuse of the "900" telephone number in violation of paragraph (2), the Attorney General, any district attorney, or city attorney, or any person aggrieved by the misuse of the number is authorized to bring a civil action in the appropriate court  requesting preventive relief, including an application for permanent or temporary injunction, restraining order, or other order against the person or group of persons responsible for the pattern of practice of misuse.  The foregoing remember shall be independent of any other remedies or procedures that may be available to an aggrieved party part under other provisions of law, including Part 2 (commencing with Section 43) of Divisions 1 of the Civil Code.

(f) This section shall not be deemed to authorize the publication, distributions, or disclosure of the address of any person about whom information can be published, distributed, or disclosed pursuant to this section.

(g) Community notification shall be governed by Section 290.45.

(h) Any law enforcement agency shall be immune from liability for good faith conduct under this section.  For the purpose of this section, "law enforcement agency" means the Attorney General of California, every district attorney, the Department of Corrections, the Department of the Youth Authority, and every state of local agency expressly authorized by statue to investigate or prosecute law violators.

(i) The registration and public notification provisions of this section are applicable to every person described in these sections, without regard to when his or her crimes were committed or his or her duty to register pursuant to Section 290 arose, and to every offense described in these sections, regardless of when it was committed.

(j) The Department of Justice shall mail an informational pamphlet to any member of the public who makes an inquiry using the "900" telephone number required by this section and who provides an address.  The pamphlet shall provide basic information concerning appropriate steps parents, guardians, and other responsible adults can take to ensure a child is safe from a suspected child molester, including, but not limited to, how to identify suspicious activity by an adult, common facts and myths about child molesters, and how to obtain additional help and information.  A notice to callers to the "900" telephone number that they will receive the pamphlet, if an addressees provided, shall be included in the preamble required by this section

(k) On or before July 1, 2001, and every year thereafter, the Department of Justice shall make a report to the Legislature concerning the operation of this section

(l) Agencies disseminating information to the public pursuant to this section shall maintain records of those person requesting to view the CD-ROM or other electronic media for  minimum of five years.

(m) This section shall remain operative only until January 1, 2007, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statue, which becomes effective on or before that date, deletes or extends that date.

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