In Florida, a conviction for certain sex crimes carries more than incarceration and/or fines. It can also lead to a requirement to register as a sex offender. The stigma of being a designated sex offender can have severe impacts on your life. Members of the community might make swift and harsh judgments about you, and your personal and professional relationships could be affected.
For the most part, the sex offender registration requirement lasts forever unless you take action to seek relief. Additionally, if you fail to register, you may be facing additional criminal charges and penalties.
Who Must Register as a Sex Offender?
Florida's sex offender registration requirement applies to individuals convicted of certain sexual offenses.
These crimes include, but are not limited to:
- Sexual misconduct (Florida Statutes § 393.135)
- Luring or enticing a child (Florida Statutes § 787.025)
- Human trafficking (Florida Statutes § 787.06)
- Sexual battery (Florida Statutes § 794.011)
- Unlawful sexual activity with certain minors (Florida Statutes § 794.05)
- Sexual performance by a child (Florida Statutes § 827.071)
- Transmission of child pornography (Florida Statutes § 847.0137)
The registration requirement begins after you have been released from incarceration or if you are serving parole or probation for a specified sex crime.
What Is the Sex Offender Registration Requirement?
If you are required to register as a sex offender, you must report to the local sheriff's office in the county that you temporarily or permanently live. You must do so within 48 hours after your release from custody.
When you register, a law enforcement officer will take your photograph and fingerprints.
You will also be required to provide various pieces of personal information, including, but not limited to your:
- Date of birth
- Residence address
- Email address
- Phone number
- Vehicle information
- Conviction details
Your information will be recorded in a public registry. That means anyone can access it and see that you have been designated a sex offender.
Anytime there are any changes in your life, you must notify the sheriff's department of said updates within 48 hours. For instance, you must report a change of residence or vehicle.
Additionally, if you plan to travel, you must provide the sheriff with details about where you intend to stay, as well as flight or cruise information if you are traveling a far distance.
Constantly notifying the sheriff's department can be inconvenient, but if you fail (or forget) to do so within the allotted deadline, you may be charged with a felony.
How Long Must I Register as a Sex Offender?
Depending on the offense you were convicted of, you may be required to register two or four times a year. You must do so for the rest of your life unless you receive a full pardon or post-conviction relief for the qualifying sex offense.
If you do not get a full pardon or post-conviction relief, you still have options to become exempt from the sex offender registration requirement. You can petition the court to consider you for removal. However, you can pursue this avenue only after 25 years have passed since the requirement began. Additionally, you cannot have any misdemeanor or felony arrests during that time.
What Happens If I Fail to Register as a Sex Offender in Florida?
It is a crime to skirt your duty to register as a sex offender. Not reporting as required will result in a third-degree felony charge. Thus, you can face up to 5 years of imprisonment and/or up to $5,000 in fines.
However, the court may decide not to impose a prison sentence. Instead, it may order you to a mandatory minimum term of community control with electronic monitoring.
The duration of community control is as follows:
- First offense: At least 6 months
- Second offense: At least 1 year
- Third offense: At least 2 years
Sex crimes accusations and convictions can severely alter the course of your life. Recognizing this and hoping to avoid criminal charges or penalties, you might feel inclined in the early stages of your case to explain your side of the story. However, making any statements to anyone, including law enforcement officials, friends, and family members, could hurt your case. Therefore, it is crucial that you discuss your situation only with a skilled criminal defense attorney.
At The Wiseman Law Firm, we are here to protect your rights and fight for you. Our Orlando lawyer will work hard to seek a favorable outcome on your behalf.
To schedule a free consultation, call us at (407) 708-9127 or contact us online today.