In Florida, there are three levels of sex offenders, where each level is defined by the severity of the sexual offense and is associated with its own legal repercussions. Level 3 is the highest level and being labeled as such can greatly impact your life, freedom, and livelihood.  If you have been convicted as a Level 3 sex offender, you may have several questions about your status, including the following:

•    What exactly is a Level 3 sex offender?
•    How will this classification affect my professional and personal life?
•    What happens if I do not register?

In this blog, we will cover Florida’s different levels of classification, what it means to be a Level 3 sex offender, the associated restrictions, and more.

What is the Florida Sex Offender Registry?

A sex offender registry provides a list of all of Florida’s convicted sex offenders.  The registry usually provides the following information:

•    The offender’s name
•    A description of the offender’s physical appearance
•    The offender’s home address
•    Relevant criminal history

Every state in the U.S. requires convicted sex offenders to register.  In Florida, you are required to register if you are convicted of a qualifying sex crime, which includes the following:

•    False imprisonment of a minor
•    The kidnapping of a minor
•    Transmission of child pornography
•    Lewd/lascivious offense committed while an elderly or disabled person is present
•    Human sex trafficking
•    Sexual battery

Florida has some of the most severe sex offender laws in the nation.  The state requires sex offenders to register for their lifetime and makes all of their information public, which can dramatically affect their ability to finding housing and gainful employment.  Florida also requires registration if a person is convicted of a qualifying sex crime that was committed outside of the state.

Sex Offender Classification Levels in Florida

In Florida, some sex offenses are deemed as more severe than others.  Specifically, the levels of classification impose different restrictions depending upon the nature of the criminal offense.  For instance, if you were convicted of a less serious criminal offense, you will not be subject to as many restrictions.

Level 1 – this classification is the least serious, and is reserved for lower level crimes where the offender is deemed unlikely to re-offend.  Some examples of a Level 1 offender includes the following:

•    When a person chooses to streak on a college campus and is convicted of lewd behavior
•    When a person with no prior criminal record receives a nude photograph of a minor

Someone classified as a Level 1 offender is subject to less severe legal consequences.  Specifically, they are only required to report to their local sheriff’s department twice per year.  Moreover, they may face less severe restrictions and be able to be removed from the registry.

Level 2 – this classification indicates that the court believes a person is likely to re-offend.  This is usually determined by the individual’s prior criminal charges and the nature of the crime.

Akin to Level 1, a Level 2 classification may be revoked after a certain time period.  Notwithstanding, if you have been deemed a Level 2 offender, you must report to your local sheriff’s department four times as opposed to two times as required for Level 1 offenders.  You may face increased restrictions depending upon the offense that was committed.

Level 3 – this is the most severe classification and deems the offender as a “sexual predator.”  These people have at least one felony charge of sexual misconduct in the first degree or two felony charges of sexual misconduct in the second degree.

A Level 3 offender will remain on the registry for the remainder of his or her life and must report to their local sheriff’s department four times per year.  Moreover, they are subject to the most severe restrictions, including the fact that they cannot work or live within a certain distance where children are likely to be present (schools, childcare facilities, public parks, etc.)

The Obligations Associated With Registration in Florida

If you were convicted of a crime that qualifies for registration, it is required that you register as a sex offender.  As noted above, this includes reporting to your local sheriff’s department.

At the time when you report, you will have to provide such information as your name, social security number, and date of birth.  You will also have to provide information of such identifying features as eye/hair color, and tattoos.  The registry will publish this information so that it can be viewable by the public.
In addition to having to visit your local sheriff’s department, you will have to keep law enforcement abreast of your personal information, meaning, that if your address or name changes, you must update your driver’s license within 48 hours.

Moreover, as noted previously, you cannot work or live within a certain distance of daycares, schools, public parks, etc.  Specifically, you must comply with all of the state and local restrictions.

How Long Will I Have to Be on the Florida Sex Offender Registry?

For those who are Level 3 predators, they cannot be removed from the registry.  However, if you are a Level 1 or Level 2 offender, you may be able to seek a petition for your removal.   This is only possible in certain cases, as follows:

•    The criminal offense was pardoned
•    You have been on the registry for at least 25 years without having any misdemeanor or felony arrests
•    You meet the qualifications under Florida’s Romeo and Juliet law

Even if you meet one of these requirements, you are not guaranteed removal.  Specifically, you must petition the court and seek a judge’s approval to be removed from the registry.

To increase your chances of being removed, it is highly recommended that you seek out the services of a qualified Florida criminal defense attorney.

What are the Repercussions if I Fail to Register in Florida?

Undoubtedly, some individuals who are aware of the consequences associated with registering avoid doing so, but this only comes with more serious legal repercussions.

In Florida, it is critical to understand that failing to register constitutes a felony.  The penalties associated therewith depend upon the nature of the underlying offense and your criminal history. You may be faced with imprisonment, fines, parole, and probation.  It may also prevent you from being able to seek removal from the registry, even if you satisfy the associated requirements.

Protect Your Future with Musca Law

Sex crime allegations can be devastating, not to mention humiliating. If convicted, you face prison time, exorbitant fees, and lifetime sexual offender or sexual predator registration. Musca Law’s experienced Florida sex crimes lawyers work diligently to ensure that your rights are upheld and that you receive the best possible defense. In many cases, sex crime allegations are brought about due to innocent circumstances and complex family dynamics. The criminal justice system isn’t impervious to mistakes, and our Florida criminal defense team can shed light on your situation and use proven methodologies to build your defense.

At Musca Law, we know that everyone is entitled to fair representation and to having their story heard. Our knowledgeable sex crimes attorneys are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to serve as your advocates and fight aggressively to defend your rights.

Get your case started by calling us at (888) 484-5057 today!