Sex Offender General Information

Those who are convicted of certain sex offenses may be required to register as sex offenders on the state’s registry. Before a person can be forced to register, however, several requirements must be met, including that he or she was convicted of a qualifying sex offense either in Florida or another jurisdiction, and:
  • Has been released from or is currently serving a prison sentence, probation, or parole for a qualifying sex offense after 1997
  • Establishes or maintains a residence, whether permanent or temporary, in Florida and would be required to register as a sex offender in another jurisdiction
  • Was adjudicated delinquent after July 2007, was at least 14 years old at the time, and was convicted of sexual battery, lewd battery against or molestation of a victim under the age of 12 years old, molestation of a victim under 16 years old, but older than 12 years of age, where force was used, or a violation of a similar law in another jurisdiction.
When these requirements are fulfilled, a defendant will be required to register as a sex offender.

Qualifying Sex Offenses

Under Fla. Stat. 943.0435, sex offenses that require a defendant to register as a sex offender include:
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Kidnapping, when the victim was a minor
  • False imprisonment, but only if the victim was a minor
  • Luring or enticing a child
  • Human trafficking
  • Sexual battery
  • Sexual performance by a child
  • Lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of a minor under the age of 16 years old
  • Unlawful sexual activity with a minor
  • Procuring a minor for prostitution
  • Selling or purchasing minors into sex trafficking, prostitution, or for portrayal in pornographic material
  • Video voyeurism, when the victim was a minor
  • Lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon an elderly or disabled adult
  • Selling, distributing, or renting obscene materials to a minor
  • Using a computer to lure a child into participating in unlawful sexual conduct
  • Transmitting child pornography through the use of an electronic device or equipment
  • Transmitting harmful material to a minor via an electronic device
  • Violations of similar laws in another jurisdiction
Those who commit violent sexual offenses or who have been civilly committed, and have a written court order designating them as such, will be classified as sexual predators. These individuals must comply with even more rigid requirements than do those who have been labeled sex offenders.

What are a Sex Offender’s Registration Obligations?

All sex offenders and sexual predators are required to register with their local sheriff’s office at least twice a year and provide specific information, including their:
  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Height and weight
  • Hair and eye color
  • Tattoos or identifying marks, such as scars
  • Fingerprints/palm prints
  • Photographs of themselves
  • Occupation and where they work
  • Address
  • Vehicle information
  • All telephone numbers and email addresses
  • Conviction information
  • Passport information
  • Immigration status, if applicable
Although most sex offenders are required to update this information twice a year, some offenders must do so quarterly. This rule applies to those who have been convicted of certain crimes, including kidnapping, false imprisonment, and molestation. Failing to provide accurate information to law enforcement will result in a third degree felony charge, which is punishable by five years in prison.

How Long Must an Offender Remain on the Registry?

Those who are required to register as sex offenders are usually required to maintain their registration for the remainder of their lives. There are, however, a few exceptions to this general rule. For example, individuals who have been lawfully released from prison for at least 25 years and have not been arrested for any other criminal offense, whether a misdemeanor or a felony, are permitted to petition the court for removal from the registry. However, offenders who commit the following crimes are not allowed to petition the court:
  • Kidnapping
  • False imprisonment
  • Sexual battery
  • Lewd battery where the victim was under the age of 12 years old
  • Molestation of a victim under the age of 12 years old
  • Molestation involving the use of force or coercion
  • Sexual battery of an elderly or disabled person
  • Violations of similar laws in other jurisdictions
  • Attempts to commit the aforementioned crimes
Courts have discretion to either grant or deny an offender’s petition.

Who has Access to the Sex Offender Registry?

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is authorized by law to post information about registered sex offenders and predators on a public website, which lists the offender’s photo, status, physical description, crime information, and registered address. Members of the community are also permitted to obtain a criminal history for a specific individual by paying a fee on the FDLE website.
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