Being accused of a sex crime can be extremely troubling.  The accusation alone can carry a social stigma, and can be extremely difficult or awkward to deal with.  At the San Diego Criminal Attorney, we understand that the victim’s allegations are only one side of the story, and that false accusations are always a legitimate possibility.  If you have been accused of a Sex Crime, we encourage you to contact the San Diego Criminal Attorney as soon as possible.  We understand that discussing these issues can be extremely uncomfortable.  However, you could be facing severe penalties, and it is very important to begin building a strong defense as soon a possible. Your consultation with one of our experienced attorneys will be completely FREE, and completely confidential.  If you have been accused of a sex crime, contact us today at 619-880-5474.     

The term Sex Crime, really encompasses a number of different crimes.  These crimes can vary significantly in severity and penalty.  Some will be charged as misdemeanors, while others will be charged as felonies; many can even be charged as either at the discretion of the District Attorney’s Office.  A misdemeanor is a crime where the maximum penalty does not exceed one (1) year of county jail.  Felonies, on the other hand, carry penalties ranging between one (1) year, and life in prison.  


  • Misdemeanor Sex Crimes include the following:
  • Prostitution;
  • Indecent Exposure;
  • Solicitation;
  • Lewd Conduct; and
  • Improper Touching of a Child


The following Sex Crimes are referred to as “wobblers”, meaning they can be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies:

  • Statutory Rape;
  • Sexual Battery; and
  • Unlawful Sodomy.


  • Rape by Force;
  • Child Pornography;
  • Date Rape;
  • Spousal Rape; and
  • Pimping.


In California, Sex Crimes are taken very seriously, and are prosecuted aggressively.  One accusation can often lead to a full police investigation.  The penalties for a Sex Crime can vary greatly, but all will carry social stigma, and can be life altering.  Each act committed can lead to a sentence of up to eight (8) years in a state penitentiary.  Further, multiple convictions can be added together, and can lead to a prison sentence of up to 100 years.  Many of these crimes also require registration as a sex offender for life, and do not allow for probation in lieu of prison time.  For this reason, it is strongly suggested that you consult with an attorney immediately, if you have been accused of a sex crime. 


As noted above, one of the common penalties for being convicted of a sex crime, is the requirement that you must register as a Sex Offender in accordance with California Penal Code 290.  Having to do so can be devastating, and may be something you have to deal with for the rest of your life.  If you have been charged with a Sex Crime, make sure to consult with one of our attorneys, to ensure that your rights are being protected.    


Essentially, “registering” means that you must keep the local law enforcement generally aware of your whereabouts.  This requirement remains in effect for life, if you attend school, work, or live in California.   


  • Most Rape convictions under California Penal Code Section 261;
  • Most Sexual Battery convictions under California Penal Code Section 243.4;
  • Most Sex Crimes involving minors such as:
  • Lewd Acts under California Penal Code Section 288;
  • Child Pornography under California Penal Code Section 311;
  • Pimping under California Penal Code Sections 266(h) and 266(i);
  • Sexual Assault of a minor under California Penal Code Sections 269 and 288.5;
  • Incest under California Penal Code Section 285.
  • Most Sex Crimes involving the use of force such as:
  • Sodomy under California Penal Code Section 286;
  • Oral Copulation under California Penal Code Section 288(a);
  • Indecent Exposure under California Penal Code Section 314.

While the list above includes some of the most common crimes that lead to required registration as a sex offender, it’s important to understand that other crimes can lead to required registration.  Essentially, the judge will have discretion to require registration for virtually any sex crime.


If you are required to register as a Sex Offender, there will be a number of duties you will have to fulfill.  

Within five (5) days of your sentence, release from prison/jail, or discharge from a mental institution/hospital, you must register your primary address with the local law enforcement.  Your compliance with the statute will be monitored by the California Department of Justice.

You will then be required to updated your registration information at least once each year, within five (5) business days of your birthday.  Additionally, a number of scenarios could require you to update your information more frequently.  These might include:

  • If you move;
  • You are declared by the judge to be a “sexually violent predator”;
  • You are a transient; or
  • You attend, or work at, a California college.  


If you move, you must personally update your information with the local law enforcement within five (5) business days of moving.  If you have multiple residences where you regularly live, both must be reported.  If your multiple residences are in different cities, you are required to report your information to the the local law enforcement agency for each residence.  If you move to another state, you may also be required to register as a sex offender in the new state.  

Similarly, if you are a registered sex offender in another state, and work or attend school in California, you must still register with the local law enforcement agency at your place of work or school.   


If you do not have a permanent residency, you will be considered a transient.  As a transient, you must update your registration information every 30 days in the area where you are living.  You will also have to report to your campus police if you are at a California university or college.  If you ultimately move into a permanent residence, you will have five (5) business days to notify the local law enforcement agency.  If you plan to move out of California you, you must notify the local law enforcement at least five (5) days prior to moving.       


If you have been declared a sexually violent predator, you will have stricter reporting requirements.  Sexually violent predators must update their registration information each 90 days.  A Sexually Violent Predator is someone who has been diagnosed with some mental disease that causes them to be a threat to society, and who has been convicted of a violent sexual crime.       


If you are enrolled in, or work at, a California college, you will be required to fulfill additional reporting requirements.  The additional requirements will apply even if your position is part time, or unpaid.  For one, within five (5) business days of your employment or enrollment, you will have to provide your information to the campus security/police.  Further, you will have to notify the campus police, and register your information, at least five (5) days prior to leaving the college.  If no campus police exist at your college, you must register your information with local law enforcement (local to the college). 


In addition to the sections discussed above, there are a few other provisions that require special reporting.  For example, if you legally change your name, you must notify the local law enforcement within five (5) business days of doing so.  

In some cases, a defendant will be found not guilty by reason of insanity.  When this occurs, if the crime the defendant could have been convicted of would have required them to register as a sex offender, they will still have to register with their local law enforcement agency.  

If you are working, or planning to work, with children there are special registration requirements.  When applying, you will be required to inform your employer, and/or the hiring organization, that you are a registered sex offender.  If your incident involved a minor under the age of 16, you will not be able to apply to a position in which you would supervise or work with children.    


Megan’s Law requires that sex offenders who have committed specified sex crimes, must have their sex offender status publically displayed.   After your register with the local law enforcement agency, your information will be sent to the Department of Justice (DOJ).  The DOJ keeps a list of sex offenders as part of their Sex Offender Tracking Program.  Depending on the sex crime you violated, your information could then be displayed on the Megan’s Law website, which anyone can access.  If displayed, the following information will be available:

  • A photograph of you;
  • Your name;
  • Your height, weight, and other basic identifying information;
  • The offense you committed;
    • Depending on the offense and your criminal background, your address might also be displayed.  

Generally, your address will be displayed if you have been convicted of more than one sex offense, or if you were convicted of a “serious sex offense”.  Such offenses include:

  • Murder under PC 187, committed during a raped or other specified sexual act;
  • Kidnapping under PC 207, committed with the intent to rape or commit some other specified sexual act;
  • Rape under PC 261, committed through fear or force;
  • Oral Copulation under OC 288(a);
  • Specified Lewd Acts with a Minor under PC 288;
  • Aggravated Sexual Assault with a Minor under PC 269.

If you were not convicted of a “serious sex offense”, only your zip code will be displayed on the website.  Typically, this will be the case for the following offenses:

  • Felony Sexual Battery under PC 243.4;
  • Several misdemeanor offenses where minors are involved.

If your offense does not fall into either of the above categories, it is likely your information will not be publically displayed on the website.  Even if you did commit one of the offenses listed above, you may be able to apply to have your information excluded from the internet.  Applications for Exclusion are reviewed by the DOJ on a case by case basis.  The less serious your offense is, the more likely it will be that your application will be accepted.     


If you are a registered sex offender, you may be wondering what steps you can take to remove yourself from the registered list.  Being able to do so will depend on a number of factors, but you will have a few options in seeking to change your status.  

Depending on your offense, you may be able to have your record expunged after you successfully complete the terms of your probation.  Doing you will have the charge you were convicted of eliminated from your criminal record.  Unfortunately, even though the charge is removed from your record, you will still have to register as a California Sex Offender.  

Another option might be to seek a Certificate of Rehabilitation.  Typically, you will be able to do so seven (7) to ten (1) years after your release from custody, or completion of probation.  In addition to this time period, there are other residency and behavioral requirements that must be met to obtain your Certificate.  However, if you do obtain your Certificate, you will no longer be required to register as a Sex Offender.  

The final option would be to seek a pardon from the Governor.  This relief will typically not be granted unless you have been crime free for about ten (10) years.  





San Diego & Los Angeles of counsel attorney, Michael Holmes, is highly accomplished and well-known throughout the County of Los Angeles. Mr. Holmes is uniquely trained in sexual assault prosecution and defense in that he takes on a client-centered approach and utilizes a multidisciplinary similar to prosecutors. The San Diego Criminal Lawyer Law Firm’s sexual assault team includes: forensic interviewers, social workers, investigators, psychiatrists and lawyers that give him an edge in understanding the unique areas of all sex crimes as well as any and all provable defensible strategies. Mr. Holmes associates himself with a former District Attorney sex crimes prosecutor on every single case involving crimes of a sexual nature. 

While most defense law firms rely on victim bashing, our legal team is able to find inconsistencies and doubt through strategic understanding of the unique nuances and evidence in rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse of children. Michael Holmes brings an unprecedented and extensive knowledge of the sex crimes law and each is a talented litigator both inside and outside the courtroom. 

Before practicing as a private criminal defense attorney, Mr. Holmes was a Deputy Public Defender with the San Diego Public Defender’s Office. This prior experience has given him invaluable insight into the criminal justice system and the entities that work within it. It is this experience and knowledge as well as these relationships that make him an asset in any criminal defense case. Today, Mr. Holmes is able to use his former position as a Deputy Public Defender and the connections that he forged throughout the criminal justice system to his advantage enabling him to better build a compelling defense for each of his clients. 

Mr. Holmes has tried over one hundred misdemeanor and felony jury trials, court trials, and juvenile adjudications. A large number of said trials and adjudications involved sex crimes. 

Michael Holmes has represented clients at all stages of the criminal justice process, from pre-filing investigation and bail/bond proceedings to plea negotiations and jury trials/adjudications. His criminal defense practice includes aggressive defense against all types of misdemeanor and felony charges of sex crimes as well as all other crimes. 

With over two decades of experience, Michael Holmes continues to provide unparalleled criminal defense to his clients, giving them the high-quality representation that they need and deserve. To him, there is no greater duty or obligation. Mr. Holmes has owned and operated his criminal defense firm since 2001. He has also been a member of the San Diego Superior Court panel of attorneys authorized to accept court-appointed criminal defense cases through the Indigent Criminal Defense Appointments Program (ICDA). 

Mr. Holmes is admitted to practice law as an attorney and counselor of the United States District Court for the Central District of California as well as in all state courts throughout California. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of California and the San Diego County Bar Association. 

Mr. Holmes has been featured on several television shows including: “Good Morning America,” Court T.V.’s “Catherine Crier Live,” “On Air with Ryan Seacrest,” “Celebrity Justice,” and “Fox News Live.” He has been quoted in the New York Post and co-authored five articles in San Diego Lawyer. 

Michael Holmes has stood up for the rights of clients in courtrooms throughout the greater San Diego area his entire career. He is a compassionate, fair and honest advocate whose pugnacious spirit assists him in his fight to protect the rights of his clients. He understands both the importance and the need for justice. 

Mr. Holmes is trusted for his experience and professionalism in representing clients in complex sex crimes and criminal defense cases. Whatever the circumstances, clients always receive a combination of ability, experience and efficiency when they are being represented by him. 

His sincere yet aggressive and diplomatic style has earned him a strong reputation in the criminal defense community and it is a reputation he takes seriously and has earned. Mr. Holmes has developed strong relationships with prosecutors and judges throughout San Diego County and his knowledge of the criminal justice system and how best to navigate through it puts his clients at ease. He understands that it is both what you know and who you know that matter when it comes to defending his clients and prides himself on being a voice for the voiceless. 

Being arrested by the police and charged with a sex crime is an alarming encounter. In the hands of Michael Holmes, every client is navigated through and comforted throughout this experience until the best possible outcome is obtained. 


The attorneys at San Diego Criminal Lawyer are a team of experienced professionals with a single unifying mission: To vigorously and zealously advocate for our client’s rights. With several decades of combined experience exclusively defending clients facing criminal charges, SDCA provides a caliber of representation that sets us apart from other criminal defense firms in San Diego  At SDCA  you will receive individualized attention and representation that is unmatched in the legal community. We take pride in our dedication to our clients, and we have a proven track record of success.