I AM IN THE UNITED STATES ON A TOURIST VISA. WILL I HAVE TO REGISTER AS A SEX OFFENDER IF I AM CONVICTED OF CHILD MOLESTATION IN CALIFORNIA (PC 288, PC 290)?

Recently you obtained a tourist visa in order to visit the state of California. Two months into your visit, you were convicted of child molestation under PC 288. Will you be required to register as a sex offender under PC 290 in California?

The Sex Offender Registration Act (PC 290)

California’s Sex Offender Registration Act requires persons convicted of certain sex crimes to register as a sex offender. The sex crimes listed under California Penal Code section 290(c) are listed below:

Since child molestation in violation of PC 288 is an enumerated offense under PC 290(c), it would appear that you would have to register as a sex offender in California. However, PC 290(b) sets out additional requirements for sex offender registration in California. This section states the following:

“Every person described in subdivision (c), for the rest of his or her life while residing in California, or while attending school or working in California, as described in Sections 290.002 and 290.01, shall be required to register…”

If you are traveling to California under the visa waiver program, your visit may not exceed 90 days. As such, you do not meet any of the sex offender registration requirements described in PC 290(b) since you are not residing in, attending school, or working in California. Therefore, you will not have to register as a sex offender in California if you are convicted of child molestation under PC 288.

Sentencing and Punishment under California Penal Code 288

If you are convicted under PC 288(a) for lewd or lascivious acts upon a child 14 years of age or younger, you will face up to 8 years in state prison and up to $10,000 in court fines. If you used force in committing the child molestation, you will face up to 10 years in state prison and up to $10,000 court fines under PC 288(b)(1).

After you serve your prison sentence, you will be forced to leave the United States for two reasons. First, your tourist visa will have expired. Second, child molestation is a deportable offense under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43).

If you return to California to reside, attend school, or work, you will be required to register as a sex offender under California Penal Code 290(b) and 290(c).

By Attorney Paul J. Wallin, Senior Partner of Wallin & Klarich, criminal defense attorneys in Southern California.

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