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Providing criminal defense services to
clients throughout the East Bay and
its surrounding areas.

Compliance checks for sex offenders ramped up for Halloween

Every year at Halloween time, the media emphasizes the importance of keeping children safe. This, in turn leads law enforcement agencies to increase their efforts to keep registered sex offenders away from children and prevent potential sex offenses.

“Operation Boo” is one of the tactics that law enforcement officials in California are using. Curfew centers will be set up in areas where transient sex-offenders are known to congregate and compliance checks will target the homeless in other regions. Traditional compliance checks will also be enforced for registered sex offenders. Various cities will also be enforcing ordinances to keep trick-or-treaters safe. For instance, sex offenders in Orange are not allowed to turn on any outside lighting or answer their doors on Halloween. The city also tried to pass an ordinance making it mandatory for sex offenders to place a sign in their window that read, “No candy or treats at this residence.” Attorneys countered that the ordinance constituted cruel and unusual punishment ant the ordinance was later revoked.

While police and city officials are trying to keep children safe by ramping up compliance checks and other tactics, the reality is that most people who have previously been convicted of a sex crime have no intent to harm children on Halloween. Those who unknowingly break the law on Halloween could face criminal charges for violating their parole or could be falsely accused of other sex crimes. Anyone who is facing allegations for sex offenses may want to speak with an attorney. There could be ways to get the charges dropped and prevent further damage to reputation. 

Source: Huffington Post, “Manufacturing Fear: Halloween Laws for Sex Offenders,” Emily Horowitz, Oct. 21, 2013.

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