There are different requirements and restrictions for sex offenders depending on the state that you live in. Here in Florida, we have some of the strictest laws against offenders.
If you are unfortunate enough to have been convicted of a sex crime, it is important to understand the law so that you can avoid running into future problems. The following information about the Florida sex offender registry will help answer some questions that will likely affect you for the rest of your life.
What information goes on the registry?
When you register as a sex offender in Florida, you will be required to provide the following information:
- Name, Date of Birth, Race, Sex
- Social Security Number
- Height, Weight, Hair and Eye Color, Identifying Marks (i.e. tattoos, birthmarks)
- Finger and Palm Prints
- Occupation, Place of Employment
- Residential Information (if you are homeless, you will have to register as “transient”)
- Vehicle Information
- Contact Information: Home and Cellular Telephone Numbers, Electronic Mail Addresses and Internet Identifiers (i.e. screen names, social media profiles)
- Conviction Information
- Passport or Immigration Status Information
- Professional License Information
Who can see the sex offender registry?
Florida’s sex offender registry is public and available online. A simple search of your name can result in your listing on the sex offender registry, as well as your address and a list of the crimes for which you have been convicted.
What’s the difference between a sexual offender and a sexual predator?
For most crimes or sex acts, you will be labeled as a basic sex offender. However, some offenders may receive the title of “sexual predator” if they have been convicted of a sexually violent offense and are deemed a “sexual predator” by the court. Sexual predators have more restrictions and requirements placed on them than basic sexual offenders.
How often do I have to register?
Basic sexual offenders must re-register twice per year (during your birth month and 6 months after.) Certain sexual offenders, sexual predators, and juvenile sexual offenders, however, are required to re-register four times per year (during your birth month and 3, 6, and 9 months after).
You will also have to re-register if your contact, residence, or employment information changes. Additionally, you are required to get a new driver’s license or identification card. If you do not complete this process within 48 hours of changing your address, you may face more charges.
What restrictions are placed on sex offenders?
You may also be charged with additional crimes just for being somewhere the law says you shouldn’t be; Florida’s laws about residency and your presence around certain locations are quite strict.
Florida state law says that registrants who were convicted of crimes against victims under the age of 16 cannot reside within 1,000 feet of a school, child care facility, park, or playground.
However, there are different residency restrictions for different counties in Florida, and these rules are constantly changing and being challenged. In 2009, Miami-Dade County passed laws restricting sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of schools, child care facilities, and so on. These laws have since been challenged due to their effects on hundreds of homeless people.
There are also restrictions regarding where registrants can and cannot loiter. In 2010, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties voted to ban sex offenders from loitering within 300 feet of schools, parks, and other places that children congregate.
Can I remove my name from the registry?
Many sex crimes require you to register for life unless you have received a full pardon or post-conviction relief for your offense. However, for more minor sex crimes, you may be able to remove the requirement of registration.
You can only file this petition, however, if you have been lawfully released from jail and have not been arrested for additional or new crimes for 25 years. After filing the required petition, a court may grant or deny relief of registration.
I’m new to Florida. Do I have to register?
Yes. Even if you only have a temporary address in Florida (i.e. while going to school or working a job), you are subject to Florida state rules and also the rules of the county in which you reside. You will have to undergo the same registration process that all Florida sex offenders must go through.
What if I’m just visiting?
If you are a convicted sex offender and come to Florida for a visit, you will have 48 hours after establishing a temporary residency to report to the sheriff’s office and register. You will then have to report to a local DMV with your registration to obtain a valid Florida driver’s license.
If you do not follow this procedure, you can be charged with a 3rd degree felony.
As you can see, Florida’s sex offender registry rules are incredibly strict. That’s why, if you are currently facing charges, it is vital that you work with a skilled defense lawyer to fight the charges and stay off of the sex offender registry in the first place. Contact a Florida defense lawyer today to get started on your case.
About the Author:
Attorney David W. Olson is the founder of the Law Offices of David W. Olson in West Palm Beach. He has been practicing criminal law and successfully representing clients throughout the State of Florida for over 30 years. Throughout his legal career, Mr. Olson has been honored numerous times for both his dedication and excellence in criminal law. He proudly holds the Martindale-Hubbell AV Rating, as well as being recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013), in the Nation’s Top One Percent of attorneys (2015), and as a 10 Best Member of the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys (2015). He has even received commendations from members of congress and other public officials for the fantastic work that he’s done. Mr. Olson graduated from the University of Florida’s Fredric G. Levin College of Law in 1981 and has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1983.