Florida Sex Offender Registration Lawyer
Conviction for certain crimes in Florida (or pleading guilty or no contest to these crimes) will lead to registration as a sex offender. Twenty-three separate Florida statutes outline crimes that are considered qualifying sexual offenses requiring registration. These crimes run the range of violent and non-violent sexually-related offenses, from sexual battery to video voyeurism. Also, several offenses committed by a minor aged 14 or older also require registration. Registration is a lifetime requirement, with little chance for removal. If you are charged with one of these offenses, make sure you hire an Florida sex offender registration lawyer who is knowledgeable and experienced about Florida sex offenses and can provide a strong, effective defense against those charges. In Gainesville or statewide, call the Law Offices of Gilbert A. Schaffnit for help.
Requirements under Florida’s Sex Offender Registration Law
Once you register as a sex offender, your name, address and picture are searchable and viewable by the public on the state’s sex offender registry. The registry gives users the option to print flyers of individuals, and to track a person’s whereabouts in the event they move close to any address the user chooses to monitor.
As a registered sex offender, you are required to report to your local sheriff’s office and provide them with your name, address and other identifying information, including your social security number, fingerprints, picture, place of employment, vehicle information, home and cell phone numbers and all email addresses. You must continue to report this information two or four times a year, depending on the offense, for life. If you move or change your name, you must update your driver’s license or identification card with the new information within 48 hours of the change.
Registration is a lifetime requirement. Sex offenders are even listed on the Florida public registry for a year after they have died, before they are finally removed. Likewise, people who move to Florida who have registered in another state must also register in Florida, even if they are only here temporarily for school or work. Even if you are just visiting, you will be added to the public registry and never removed.
Florida law does not include residency restrictions such as where you may live or whether you may live with another person who is also a registered sex offender, but different counties and municipalities in the state may have their own requirements in this regard. For certain offenses, you can be prohibited from visiting a park, school or child care center.
Sexual Predators are Treated Differently than Sex Offenders
Florida law distinguishes between sex offenders and sexual predators. Sexual predators are considered to be a certain type of sexual offender, namely, repeat sexual offenders, sexual offenders who use physical violence, and sexual offenders who prey on children. The Florida Sexual Predators Act requires registration and also makes other provisions for incarceration, specialized supervision on probation, public notification, and a prohibition from working with children. A sexual predator must be convicted of certain sexually violent offenses outlined in the statute, or civilly committed under the Jimmy Ryce Sexually Violent Predator Act, and also designated as a sexual predator by written court order. Sexual predators are considered to be an extreme threat to public safety, likely to use violence and repeat their offenses.
Unless designated in writing by a court as a sexual predator, the special requirements of the Florida Sexual Predators Act (Florida statutes section 775.21) do not apply.
Removal from the Registry
There is no provision in Florida law for a person designated as a sexual predator to ever be removed from the registry. For sexual offenders, securing a pardon or other post-conviction relief can make you eligible to be removed from the registry. Also, after 25 years on the registry with no intervening misdemeanor or felony arrests, you can petition the court to be removed from the registry. The court may or may not grant the request, so be sure to obtain experienced legal representation in this process for your best chance at success.
Florida statutes section 943.04354, commonly known as the Romeo & Juliet law, allows an offender to petition the court for relief from the requirement to register as long as the following facts are demonstrated:
- The “victim” was between 13 and 17 years old
- The “victim” was not more than four years younger than the offender
- The sexual conduct was consensual
- There is no other qualifying sex crime on the offender’s record
Failing to Register is a Felony and a Federal Offense
Under Florida law, failure to register as a sex offender or sexual predator is itself a felony offense that could land you in prison for several years. Additionally, Florida’s law is backed up by a federal requirement to register under the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).Notably, under 18 USC 2250, Failure to Register is a federal offense. A person who knowingly fails to register or update their information and travels across state lines can be punished under this law with fines and up to ten years in prison, or up to 30 years in prison if the person also commits a violent federal crime.
Speak with a Knowledgeable Florida Criminal Defense Attorney about Sex Offender Registration Requirements
If you have been charged with a sex crime that could land you on the sex offender registry for life, you have a great deal at stake and owe it to yourself to speak with a skilled and experienced Florida sex offender registration lawyer. Call the Law Offices of Gilbert A. Schaffnit in Gainesville at 352-505-1799 for a no-cost, confidential consultation regarding your options and defense.