Registration as a Sex OffenderFlorida law requires those who have been convicted of certain sex crimes to comply with specific rules, including registration on a sex offender list under state statute 775.21, regular meetings with probation officers, and restrictions on their living arrangements and employment.
Sex Offender RestrictionsFlorida law imposes specific rules for those who have been labeled as sexual predators. For instance, sex offenders must be supervised upon release by specially trained probation officers who have low caseloads. Sex offenders are also required to:
- Register with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, so that complete and accurate information can be accessible by law enforcement authorities and the public
- Adhere to a prohibition against working with children, either for pay or as a volunteer
- Comply with special conditions of supervision
Defining a Sexual Offender/Sexual PredatorA sexual offender is anyone who has been convicted of one of the following offenses:
- Sexual misconduct
- Kidnapping, when the victim was a minor
- False imprisonment where the victim was a minor
- Luring or enticing a child
- Human trafficking
- Sexual battery
- Unlawful sexual activity with certain minors
- Procuring someone under the age of 18 years old for prostitution
- Selling or buying minors into sex trafficking or prostitution
- A lewd or lascivious offense committed upon or in the presence of someone under the age of 16 years old
- Video voyeurism where the victim was a minor
- A lewd or lascivious offense committed upon or in the presence of an elderly person or disabled adult
- Sexual performance by a child
- Computer pornography
- Sending harmful material to a minor
- Sexual misconduct
- Been released from prison or currently serving parole
- Established a residence in Florida
- Adjudicated delinquent after 2007 when he or she was older than 14 years of age for sexual battery, lewd battery on a victim under the age of 12 years old, or molestation
- A capital, life, or first degree felony where the victim was a minor
- A felony offense where the victim was a minor if the court finds that the racketeering activity involved at least one sexual offense and the offender had previously been convicted of an offense involving a minor
RegistrationAt the time of registration, the offender must provide certain information to the sheriff’s office, including his or her:
- Social Security number
- Date of birth
- Height and weight
- Hair and eye color
- Current physical address
- Electronic mail addresses
- Home and cell phone numbers
- Employment information
Within 48 hours of registering at the sheriff’s office, offenders must register in person at a driver license office at the DMV. At that time, he or she will need to present proof of registration. In the event that the registrant moves or changes his or her name, he or she will be required to report the change in person at the driver license office.
Sex offenders must maintain registration for the rest of their lives unless they receive a full pardon. Furthermore, registrants must report in person each year during the month of their birth with the sheriff’s office in the county of their residence as well as every three months thereafter.
PenaltiesRegistrants who are moving out of state must report to the sheriff’s office at least 48 hours before relocating. If a registrant intends to move out of the country, he or she must notify authorities at least three weeks prior to moving. For international travel, he or she must also provide flight information.
Registrants who have moved out of a permanent residence and into a transient residence must report to the sheriff’s office every 30 days. Those who intend to move out of state, but end up not leaving and fail to tell the authorities will be charged with a second degree felony, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Failing to register or to notify the department of changes to an address, phone number, vehicle registration, or name change is considered a third degree felony, which is punishable by five years in prison.
Anyone who knows that a sexual predator is not complying with Florida’s registration requirements, but does not notify authorities of the noncompliance in an effort to assist the offender in eluding arrest can also be charged with a third degree felony.
The consequences of failing to register as a sex offender are severe, which makes it especially important for those who have been convicted of a sex offense to have a thorough understanding of their legal obligations.