The Florida Sex Offender Registry is compiled and managed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Individuals who have been convicted of certain crimes in Florida may be labeled a Sexual Offender, or a Sexual Predator.
What is the difference between the designations?
These two distinctions are very different, designation as a Sexual Predator stems from offenses which include violence; there is no current process in Florida to petition the court for removal of a sexual predator designation, but some with the "Sexual Offender" designation may qualify for removal. In order to be labelled a sexual predator, a person must have a written court order designating the individual as such; AND either "have been convicted of a sexually violent offense as defined in Florida Statute 775.21" (this includes out of state offenses from another jurisdiction); or have been "civilly committed under the Florida Jimmy Ryce Sexually Violent Predator Act." Alternatively, a sexual offender is an individual: with a duty to register in another state, a qualifying adult conviction, or a qualifying conviction as a minor (at least 14 years old).
How do you comply with the law if designated an offender or a predator?
If you have been convicted of an offense for the which the courts instructs registration, you must report to your local sheriff's office. There you will be asked to provide your personal information. It is important to note that this information is not subject to the Florida Sunshine Law and will not become public record. Sex offenders must complete this registration either twice a year (birth month, 6 months later) or four times a year (birth month, and every three months); this requirement depends on the specific offense. All Juvenile sexual offenders and sexual predators must comply quarterly. All registrants must maintain this registration for life.
In addition to registration requirements, any time residence or name is changed, driver's license/identification card changes must be made within 48 hours. There are more extensive responsibilities depending on the statutory requirements as well.
Florida sex offender/predator designees are able to share a residence with another sex offender, and State law does not generally restrict living in any particular areas. Local municipal and county ordinances may restrict where an offender/predator may live. Make sure to contact local law enforcement before engaging in a move. In addition, if a victim of an offense is under 16 years of age, the offender likely will not be able to relocate to a residence that is within 1,000 feet of a school, child care facility, park, or playground. The best course of action would once again be to consult local law enforcement, or a qualified criminal defense attorney before planning a move.
A requirement to register does not, by itself, forbid an individual from living with a child or minor. Please consult a criminal defense attorney as to any individual guidelines or restrictions set by a judge which could affect this. Offenders of certain crimes cannot visit parks, schools or child care centers, or must take special precautions.
Florida does not place any restrictions on: computer ownership, internet use, email use, social networking site access or any other digital actions (which are not crimes). Please consult with a criminal defense attorney if under supervision by any law enforcement agency. There may be restrictions in place by a judge, and violation could mean serious ramifications.
How can someone get removed from the registry?
There is no current Florida provision which allows those registered as Sexual Predators to petition the court for removal.
BUT Sexual Offenders sometimes have options. While this registration is unfortunately generally for life, there are however a few categories of individuals who can have this removed:
Romeo and Juliet Law
Certain offenses can have the designation removed based on the ages of the offender and the victim:
The victim must be at least 13 years old at the time of offense and not more than 17,
The victim may be no more than four years younger than the registrant,
The activity must have been consensual, and;
The offense meeting this criteria must be the only sex crime on the offenders record which requires registration.
If these requirements are met, a person (preferably with the assistance of a criminal defense attorney qualified to handle this type of matter) may petition for status removal.
Pardon or Post-Conviction Relief
Please consult with a criminal defense attorney before failing to meet any aforementioned qualifications, but generally those who have received a pardon or post-conviction relief are not required to register.
Petition for Removal
Some individuals can petition the court to remove the requirement to register as a sex offender. In order to qualify, an individual must:
Be released from: sanctions, confinement, or supervision for at least 25 years;
Not have been arrested for any offense (felony or misdemeanor) in those 25 years, and;
If convicted as an adult, the violation cannot be for:
"kidnapping (F.S. 01);
false imprisonment (F.S. 02);
sexual battery (F.S. 011, excluding subsection 10);
lewd/lascivious battery where the victim is under 12 or the court finds sexual activity by the use of force or coercion (F.S. 04 (4)(a)2);
lewd/lascivious molestation where the victim is under 12 (F.S. 04(5)(b));
lewd/lascivious molestation where the court finds the offense involved the use of force or coercion and unclothed genitals or genital area (F.S. 04(5)(c)2);
lewd/lascivious battery on an elderly or disabled person (F.S. 1025(2)(a));
any attempt or conspiracy to commit any such offense;
any violation of similar law of another jurisdiction; or
any violation of a similar Florida offense which has been redesignated to one of those listed above."
If these requirements are met, a person (preferably with the assistance of a criminal defense attorney qualified to handle this type of matter) may petition for status removal with the criminal division of the circuit court of the circuit:
"Where the conviction or adjudication occurred, for a conviction in Florida;
Where the sexual offender resides, for a conviction of a violation of similar law of another jurisdiction; or
Where the sexual offender last resided, for a sexual offender with a conviction of a violation of similar law of another jurisdiction who no longer resides in Florida."
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