Failure to register is a 3rd degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in the state prison.
You should plead not guilty, hire or be appointed an attorney, and get discovery.
Notice of the necessity to register is a requirement for the state to find you guilty, so you should see exactly what the state has and provide some time for your attorney to negotiate with the State in terms of a possible negotiated disposition. Usually, for a first time offender, the benefit of the doubt is granted and a light sentence is offered, perhaps even probation or simply a time served. But be aware that a conviction for failure to register will mean any future failure will certainly have been under notice and you may not have a choice about some prison time.
Florida has strict, and ever changing, laws on registration. You must take care to be fully compliant to avoid a repeat of this experience. But, for this time, I would say you require the assistance of an attorney. Therefore, plead not guilty and hire or let the court appoint an attorney if you cannot afford one, and then work with them for the best resolution. Good luck.
Failure to Register as a Sex Offender can be a difficult case to prove, as there are a few loopholes in the law that can only be removed after a "discussion" with law enforcement. I highly recommend that you not speak to anyone about this case, other than a local criminal defense attorney.
In a Failure to Register as a Sex Offender case, the State must prove that you failed to register within a certain amount of time, but that registration time can be delayed depending upon your living conditions/intentions/circumstances, much of which cannot be proved without ample testimony. Make sure you retain an excellent local attorney, DO NOT plea at arraignment tomorrow, hire an attorney asap!!!
My colleagues are correct. Although these charges are normally difficult to defend (I have handled several), there are circumstances that can provide some basis to -- at a minimum -- put up a real fight. It is important that you not plead at arraignment, but have a defense attorney examine the potential for a legitimate and dedicated fight against the charge.
The Brett Law Firm, P.A.