Megan's Law is named after seven-year-old Megan Kanka, a New Jersey girl who was raped and killed
by a known child molester who had moved across the street from the family without their knowledge. The offender lived right across the street from the Kanka residence, however, the Police Department was prohibited from disclosing the presence of this child molester because at the time the law did not allow the release of sex offender information to the public. In the wake of the tragedy, the Kankas sought to have local communities warned about sex offenders in the area. The law, dubbed "Megan's Law," was changed to permit the release of this information to the public. California's version of Megan's Law went into effect on September 25, 1996. This law was implemented to allow potential victims to protect themselves and allow parents to protect their children.
Pursuant to section 290 of the California Penal Code, individuals convicted of committing or attempting certain sex crimes
are required to register with the local police department within five working days of his or her release from prison or jail. Additionally, sex offenders must re-register every year within five working days of his or her birthday, moving, or changing his or her name. With few exceptions, the registration requirement is a lifetime mandate. During annual registration, the registered sex offender is required to verify his or her name and address or temporary location. Failure to properly register may be a felony and may count as a "Third Strike."
California Department of Justice Megan's Law Link - Opens link to California Department of Justice in new window.