What You Should Know About California Sex Offender Law

What You Should Know About California Sex Offender Law

June 26, 2021 Off By Glespynorson

With Senate Bill 145 taking effect this year, California changes sex offender law and ends its blatant discriminatory treatment against LGBTQ youth. The new bill expands the discretion granted to judges and gives them the power to list individuals engaging in oral or anal sex with a minor as a sex offender.

This movement to reform such a law ensures LGBTQ individuals are treated the same way as heterosexual defendants when it comes to sexual offense laws. Although this new law seeks to bring fairness, it still led to some misunderstandings and oppositions from several people. To help clear the controversy, here’s everything you need to know about the changes in California’s sex offender law.

The Initial Sex Offender Law

In the state of California, the age of consent is eighteen. That means a man who voluntarily engages in penile-vaginal intercourse with a minor aged 14 to 17 and is up to 10 years older than them may face statutory rape charges. But under the initial law that’s been placed in California for decades, sex offenses against minors are not automatically registrable.

However, judges can decide whether an adult should be listed on the sex offender registry. Once they order a person to register as a sex offender, this will be a lifelong designation. While these aspects of the sex offender law in California are maintained, the new bill now expands discretion for judges.

What’s Included in the New Sex Offender Law?

Instead of only applying discretion to an adult who had penile-vaginal intercourse, Senate Bill 145 permits judges to use the same discretion in anal and oral sex cases. The age of consent and level of crime prosecuted remains the same under the new law.

Regardless of sexual orientation, any adult residing, working, or attending school in California will automatically be required to register as a sexual offender if found to have voluntary oral, anal, or vaginal sex with a minor. This legislation only seeks to eliminate the anti-LGBTQ inequality in the law. It won’t change the fact that having a sexual relationship with a minor isn’t allowed.

Myth and Facts About California’s SB-145

California’s new sex offender law, however, has been a subject of a massive misinformation campaign. While some groups have shown support for the change, the opponents of the bill have been discrediting the law from the outset. Here are some of the myths and facts regarding the new sex offender law.

The New Bill Legalizes Pedophilia or Sex With Minors

The new legislation does not legalize pedophilia or sex with minors, nor does it weaken the penalties for such offenses. In California’s sex offender law, these conducts remain crimes punishable by law. Additionally, the judge can still give a call whether to put the older party on the sex offender registry if the case warrants it.California Sex Offender Sentencing Guidelines - Monder Criminal Lawyer Group CA

The Bill Changes the Age of Consent And Level of Crime Prosecuted

As mentioned before, the new sex offender law doesn’t change the age of consent in California. Under the current law, it is illegal for any person above 18 to have any type of sexual intercourse with a 14, 15, 16, and 17 years old. Additionally, this new sex offender law doesn’t protect rapists or any person who lures a minor for sex. The only change it brings to the sex offender law is that the judge can now also list someone as a sex offender for having oral and anal sex with a minor.

It Weakens the Sex Offender Registry

These changes can help strengthen California’s sex offender registry. Instead of wasting resources to monitor 18-year-olds who have a sexual relationship with their 17-year-old significant others, law enforcement can focus on statutory charges. Although an 18-year-old can still be convicted of a sex offense, they won’t automatically be registered. The purpose of the sexual offender registry is to track predators and solve future crimes. But if it’s full of low-level offenses, the registry might become an unworkable and useless tool.


Despite the negative comments and varying viewpoints, the new changes in California’s sex offender law are here to ensure justice for all Californians. But sometimes, these laws are not applied fairly. Being listed on the sex offender registry can carry lifelong consequences that can affect your chances of finding employment or a place to live. That’s why it’s crucial to work with an experienced attorney to understand and protect your rights if you face accusations of sex offenses.