Florida’s Sex Offender Registry
According to the Orlando Sentinel, researchers at the Florida Legislature recently found that the number of registered sex offenders living in Florida has grown by 44 percent over the last decade. The statewide total of registered offenders is more than 26,000. Experts note that the increase in registered offenders is likely due to one striking characteristic of the registry – more and more individuals are added each day, but almost no one comes off. One researcher likened it to “building a prison from which inmates are never released.”
Rules for Florida’s sex offender registry
Florida has one of the strictest laws in the country regarding sex offender registration. As explained by Florida’s Department of Law Enforcement, which manages the registry, anyone convicted of a “qualifying sexual offense” in Florida or another jurisdiction must register as a sexual offender. Some of the qualifying sexual offenses under Florida law include:
- False imprisonment;
- Luring or enticing a child;
- Human trafficking;
- Sexual battery;
- Video voyeurism of a minor;
- Sexual performance by a child;
- Computer pornography; and
- Transmission of child pornography by electronic device or equipment.
The law creates two categories for those convicted of sex offenses: sexual offenders and sexual predators. To be classified as a sexual predator, a person must have been convicted of a capital, life, or first-degree felony sex crime, or two or more second-degree felony sex crimes, and must have a written order from the court designating him a sexual predator.
Registrants must report to their local sheriff’s department and provide information including, but not limited to:
- Date of birth;
- Social Security number;
- Height and weight;
- Hair and eye color;
- Tattoos or other identifying marks;
- Palm prints;
- Residential addresses or transient information if homeless;
- Vehicle information;
- All home telephone numbers and cell numbers; and
- All email addresses and internet identifiers.
Registrants are required to complete a registration form 2 or 4 times a year, depending on their offenses. Sexual predators must register 4 times a year. Anyone on the registry must maintain their registration for life.
Restrictions on registrants
Individuals on the sex offender registry who have been convicted of certain sex crimes against a child under 16 cannot live within 1000 feet of a school, playground, day care center, park, or other place frequented by children. Certain counties and municipalities have imposed even stricter residency requirements. Registered sex offenders whose victim was a minor cannot work or volunteer at any business, school, day care center, park, playground, or other place where children are regularly present.
Getting off the sex offender registry
The sex offender registry is for life. However, under certain circumstances an offender may be able to escape it. The so-called “Romeo and Juliet Law” allows a convicted offender to petition the court to avoid the requirement to register if he meets certain requirements. The law’s goal is to provide some relief for high-school-age offenders convicted after participating in a consensual sexual relationship with someone not of legal age.
Consult an Orlando Sex Crimes Lawyer
The consequences of a conviction for sex crimes are far-reaching and potentially lifelong. For this reason it is extremely important to have a knowledgeable, dedicated lawyer in your corner when you are facing sex crimes charges. The experienced Orlando and Miami lawyers of The Baez Law Firm know the stakes when it comes to these kinds of cases, and can help you understand your options while fighting in court on your behalf. Contact us for a consultation today.