In 1997, Florida became the first state in the United States to list sex offenders and predators on the Internet and to make that information accessible to the public through a 24/7 hotline. Accordingly, today those who commit and are convicted of a sex offense in Florida are usually not only punished by large fines and jail time, but in most cases are required to register as a sex offender or sexual predator with the state sex offender registry.
What is a Sexual Offender According to Florida Law?
If you are convicted of one of several qualifying sex offenses in Florida or in another state or jurisdiction, you will be required to register as a sex offender. Qualifying adult sex convictions include:
- Sexual misconduct;
- Sexual battery;
- False imprisonment where the victim is a minor and you are not the victim’s parent or guardian;
- Kidnapping where the victim is a minor and you are not the victim’s parent or guardian;
- Enticing or luring a child where the victim is a minor and you are not the victim’s parent or guardian;
- Human trafficking;
- Some lewd or lascivious offenses;
- Computer pornography;
- Transmitting child pornography by an electronic device or equipment;
- Video voyeurism of a minor; and
- Unlawful sexual acts with certain minors.
In addition to a conviction for one of the above offenses or another qualifying offense, you will be required to register if you have been released from or currently serving probation, parole, or imprisonment for a qualifying sexual offense on or after October 1, 1997, or,
- You were convicted of similar offense in another jurisdiction, were required to register, and you now live in or are visiting Florida; or
- You were adjudicated delinquent on or after July 1, 2007, for certain offenses and you were fourteen years or older at the time of the offense.
What is a Sexual Predator According to Florida Law
Sexual predators are usually those who have been convicted of a sexually violent offense such as kidnapping a minor, sexual battery, lewd or lascivious offenses committed against victims younger than sixteen, and false imprisonment of minor victims, and they have a court order designating that they are a sexual predator.
Others can be considered sexual predators if they are civilly committed under Florida’s Sexually Violent Predator Act, and a court order designates that person as a sexual predator.
What Are the Sex Offender Registry Requirements in the State of Florida
Sex offender registrants are required to report basic information to their local sheriff’s office including, name, date of birth, social security number, photographs, fingerprints, addresses, phone numbers, and conviction information, among other information. As a sex offender, you will be required to fill out a registration form at the county sheriff’s office either twice a year of four times a year depending on your offense. Additionally, sexual predators and some sex offenders will be required to report four times a year. As a sex offender or sexual predator, you will be required to maintain your sex offender registration for the duration of your life, and you will be listed on the public sex offender registry website. While this is not an exhaustive list of sex offender registry requirements, it is essential that you comply with them as failure to comply with the registration requirements can result in an additional felony conviction.
What You Should Do When the Police Are At Your Door
Some individuals panic when they hear the loud knock of a police officer at their door. They think that if they do not answer the door that perhaps the police will go away on their own. Or they think that if they hide from the police that law enforcement will not bother to search for them inside the house. Both of these are false beliefs and can land you in even deeper trouble. In most criminal cases, police that are called to your house by the other person in the dispute or a neighbor who overheard the commotion with have legal grounds to enter your house and make sure everyone is safe. (If for some reason they do not, your criminal defense attorney can handle this in an appropriate matter at a later time in your case). Hiding from the police or refusing to answer the door for police may lead to charges of interfering or obstructing police and can be used at trial to suggest that you were guilty of committing an offense.
Should I Talk With Police?
It is common to wonder whether talking with police at the scene is a good idea. On the one hand, it is your opportunity to tell law enforcement your side of the story. On the other hand, individuals suspected of committing a criminal offense have often “sealed their fate” by unintentionally admitting to committing a crime. If you do choose to speak with police at this time, remain calm and do not become irate or blame the other person. Truthfully tell the police about the disagreement but be cautious about admitting to screaming at the other person, hitting him or her, or committing any other act of violence or abuse toward the other person. When in doubt, you can always refuse to answer police questions at that time and wait until you have a criminal law attorney present to help and advise you.
Let an Aggressive Musca Law Criminal Defense Attorney Help Fight Your Sex Offense Charge
If you or a family member have been charged with sexual offense under Florida law, it is essential that you consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. Sex offense charges should never be taken lightly as a conviction has serious lasting consequences, such as the requirement that you register as a sex offender or sexual predator for life. To receive your free consultation with Musca Law, simply call (888) 484-5057 and let one of our experienced criminal defense attorney help you fight your sex offense charge.