PC 290 registration relief (sex offender registration)

Since 2021, California has had a tiered system for sex offender registration (Penal Code section 290 registrants). Depending on what tier you are in and how long you've registered, you may be able to ask (petition) the court to end your duty to register.


You must continue to register unless and until you have filed a petition and a judge grants your petition.

Sex offender registration tiers

Anyone convicted of a crime requiring sex offender registration under PC 290 will get assigned a tier. The tier says how long you must register before you can ask the court to relieve you of your registration requirement. This is called the minimum registration period.

In general, these are the minimums:

  • Tier 1: 10 years
  • Tier 2: 20 years 
  • Tier 3: 20 years if only based on risk level; if not, lifetime registration

If the case was handled in juvenile court, the tiers are different (5 to 10 years). There are special cases where you may be able to apply earlier.

The time starts when you're released from custody or released on probation or other supervision. The times can be extended. For example, if you're convicted of failing to register. If you were in jail or prison during the time you were required to register, it may not count towards your minimum. 

If you're in tier 2 and were under 21 at the time of the offense, it's possible you may qualify for a 10-year minimum instead. Learn more

In general, people in tier 2 have a 20-year minimum. However, there is an exception where the minimum is only 10 years. If you’ve already registered for 10 years, you may qualify for the exception if all of the following are true:

  • You were under 21 years old at the time of the offense
  •  The offense only involved 1 victim between the ages of 14 and 17
  • The offense isn’t Penal Code section 236.1 (false imprisonment and human trafficking) or listed in Penal Code section 667.5, violent felonies, with the exception of 288(a)(lewd or lascivious act)
  • After you were released from custody for the conviction that required you to register, you did not get a new conviction that required you to register or a new Penal Code section 667.5(c) (violent felony) conviction

If you qualify, you may be able to petition the court to relieve you from your duty to register after 10 years of registering.

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Your designation letter or proof of current registration will not say if you qualify for the exception. 

How to get your tier status

You can get your tier status from law enforcement. Ask the law enforcement agency where you're required to register for a tier notification letter. The letter will have your tier. Your tier is based on your conviction, risk assessment scores, and other factors.

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Contact your public defender's office or a lawyer familiar with this law if you have questions about your tier status or how to figure out if you've met the minimum registration period. 

Who is eligible to ask for relief from registration requirements

You may be eligible for relief if you've registered for the minimum time required for your tier and all of the following are also true:

  • You have no pending charges that might extend your registration time or change your tier status
  • You're not in custody
  • You're not on probation, parole, postconviction supervised release, or any other form of supervised release
If you're tier 3 based only on risk level, you have additional requirements. Learn more
You are not eligible if either:
You are required to register based on a Penal Code Section 288 offense or an offense listed in Penal Code section 1192.7(c) (serious felony).

2. After you were released from custody (for the conviction that required you to register) you either got a new conviction that required you to register or a new Penal Code section 667.5(c) (violent felony) conviction.

If you are eligible, get instructions on how to ask for relief from the court

You can ask for relief without a lawyer. You can also contact a public defender's office. A public defender may be able to help you at no cost.

Get instruction to apply for relief

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