Some of the country’s most severe sex offender laws are found in Florida, and most stem from a relatively recent incident. In 2005, “Jessie” Lunsford was a 9-year-old who dreamed of becoming a fashion design and Olympic-class swimmer when she grew up. That year, however, she was raped and buried alive by a registered sex offender.
In response, Florida lawmakers enacted Jessica’s Law, which requires a minimum 25-year prison sentence for those convicted of sex crimes involving children younger than 12. It also requires GPS tracking of the convicted person after their release from prison.
Also upon release from prison, all convicted sex offenders are required to register for life in Florida, regardless of the severity of the offense.
This not only means that one will appear on Florida’s sex offender registry for life, but they must also register with the local authorities three or four times a year. The number of times that someone is required to register as a sex offender depends upon the crime for which they were convicted.
Failing to register as a sex offender when required to do so is a felony.
What Information Is Included in the Sex Offender Registry?
Sex offender registrants are required to provide a long list of information to their local sheriff’s office each time they’re required to report. Much of it is viewable by the public when looking up registered sex offenders.
The information they must provide includes the following and more:
- Date of birth
- Social Security Number
- Height and weight
- Hair and eye color
- Tattoos or other identifying marks
- Palm prints
- Occupation and place of employment
- Residential address(es) including transient (i.e. homeless)
- Vehicle information
- All home telephone numbers and cellular telephone numbers
What Restrictions Do Sex Offenders Face in Florida?
One of the most serious restrictions sex offenders face in Florida is where they can live. Depending upon the nature of their conviction, a sex offender can be prevented from living within 1,000 feet of a school, playground, park, or childcare facility.
This residency restriction can often make it difficult for one to find a place to live, especially within a reasonable proximity to their place of work.
Is There a Way to Get Removed from the Florida Sex Offender Registry?
Sex offenders can petition to be removed from the registry after 20 years and only if they haven’t been convicted of any additional misdemeanors or felonies.
Those who meet the following criteria may be able to petition for removal:
- Not originally convicted of sexual battery
- Not originally convicted of a lewd or lascivious offense committed in front of someone under the age of 16
- Not originally convicted of sexual performance by a child
- Not originally conviction of computer pornography
- Nor originally convicted of prohibited computer use or traveling to meet a minor
- The defendant was within four years of the age of their victim when the victim was 14 to 17 years old
- The crime must have been committed on or after July 1, 2007
The petition must clearly indicate why the petitioner is eligible for removal and should be removed from the registry. The State will be notified of the petition and can contest it by providing evidence as to why the offender should remain on the registry.
A final way to get removed from the Florida sex offender registry is to die. Deceased offenders are removed one year following their death.
Do You Need an Attorney?
Whether you are charged with a sex crime or need help petitioning to get removed from the sex offender registry, we at Hubbs Law, P.A. can help. Our attorneys have what it takes to represent clients like you.
We understand that a lot is on the line for you right now, which is why we can respond to your needs with the personalized legal assistance you need to increase the odds of gaining the best possible outcome.