Are you (or a loved one) facing charges that, if convicted, could land you on the Florida Sex Offender Registry? If so, you already know what a daunting and intimidating prospect this can be – a mandatory lifetime enrolment on this list could truly turn your life upside down and severely limit your goals, dreams and future happiness. Read ahead for everything that you need to know about the Florida Sex Offender Registry – and how you may be able to remove your name.
What is the Florida Sex Offender Registry?
Designed to alert neighbours, locals and colleagues when someone convicted of a sex crime in Florida (defined as a sexual offender or a sexual predator) moves into the neighbourhood, the Sex Offender Registry can be a truly useful safety tool for concerned individuals. That said, if you believe that you are on this list unfairly, it can derail your life permanently and alter your future chances of success.
Utilised in many countries and regions around the world, these registries collect the personal details of those individuals who have been charged and convicted of sexual crimes against children and adults. A Florida law (effective since 7/1/96) requires the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to maintain a current and regularly updated list of Registered Sexual Predators (as defined by statute Chapter 97-299).
If you have been convicted of one of these crimes, you will be required to regularly register yourself on this list and ensure that all of your personal details (including a photo, home address, date of birth, full name and more) are correct. Long after you have served your time and probation for this crime you will need to remain on this list – for the rest of your life.
Florida Sex Offender Registry FAQs
- What kinds of crimes can land me on the Florida Sex Offender Registry?
The list includes sexual assault, rape, molestation, incest and other sexually motivated crimes against adults and children. Under recent changes to Florida sex crime laws, this can now also include the posting of ‘revenge porn’ photos or information online.
- What is the difference between a sexual offender and a sexual predator?
While both are required to register with the Florida Sex Offender Registry, but the police must actively inform the public when an individual designated as a sexual predator moves into the area. From the Florida Department of Law Enforcement:
There is a subcategory of sexual offenders who are considered sexual predators. They have been convicted of (1) committing a forcible sexual battery upon an adult; (2) kidnapping a child under the age of 13; (3) engaging in sexual activity with a child under the age of 12; or (4) selling or buying a person under the age of 18 for sex. Florida Statute 775.21(4)(a).
- How long will I be required to remain on the Registry?
Currently, the law stipulates that you will be required to remain on the registry for the rest of your life; that said, in some rare cases you can indeed petition the court for the removal of your name (see below).
- How far will I have to stay away from schools?
Under Florida law, sex offenders are not allowed to come within 1,000 feetof a school, daycare or park.
- What will happen if I fail to register as a sex offender?
Under federal law, if you fail to register as a sex offender when you move or travel, you can face up to ten years in a maximum security federal prison.
- Will this affect my job prospects?
The short answer is: yes. If your career requires you to work with (or near) children, you are unlikely to be able to find steady work in your field. Even if you are employed in a completely different industry, you will be required to disclose this information to your employer. You will also not be permitted to work near places where children gather (even if your office or worksite has nothing to do with them).
- Who can access the Florida Sex Offenders Registry?
The Registry is open and available to anyone living in Florida – they can inquire at their local police station or search that database online.
How can you remove your name from the Florida Sex Offender Registry?
Finding yourself condemned to the Florida Sex Offender Registry can have serious repercussions on your personal and professional life. Your mandatory enrolment on this list can dictate where you must reside, the kinds of jobs that you are permitted to do and the kinds of company that you are allowed to keep. It can even bar you from attending family events, social gatherings and the milestone achievements (such as graduations, birthday parties and weddings) of your loved ones. It is understandable that many individuals who are on this registry are keen to be removed from it as soon as possible.
That said, when it comes to getting yourself removed from the Florida Sex Offender Registry, there is no quick and easy fix. While you may have undergone complete rehabilitation (or been charged and convicted with a minor crime that you believe should not have landed you on the list), it can be tough to convince those in charge that you deserve to be removed. If is has been more than 25 years since your conviction (and you have not been indicted for any felonies since), you can petition the court for the removal of your name.
The most important first step that anyone should take when seeking to be removed from the registry is to consult with a skilled sex crimes lawyer with expertise in this area. Whitney S. Boan has extensive experience defending individuals in sex crime related cases, and she can be a valuable resource when it comes to being removed from the Florida Sex Offender Registry.