Florida laws regarding sex offenders and predators is very strict. Every citizen residing in the state of Florida who is convicted of a sexual offense, as defined in the Florida statutes, must register as a sex offender with the local sheriff’s office in the county of their residence. The information is then made public record.
Offenders who move are required to update their driver’s license or identification card within 48 hours. The offenders also have to maintain that registration throughout the remainder of their life. In addition, two to four times a year (depending on the offense), they must update their registration as a sex offender. Temporary residents in the state of Florida, such as workers who stay for periods of time, must also register.
Can a sex offender ever be liberated from this list?
A registered sexual offender can petition the court to be deleted from the list, but only if they meet the following criteria:
- Have been pardoned from the original offense.
- Have received post-conviction relief; in other words, a judge has decided it was unconstitutional in your case.
- Have been released from all confinement or supervision for a period of at least 25 years, with no additional arrests for misdemeanor or felony offenses. Note that this option is not available to all registered sex offenders, but is dependent on the type of original defense. See Florida Sexual Offenders and Predators for more information on these offenses.
What is the “Romeo & Juliet” law?
Florida Statute 943.04354, called the Romeo and Juliet act, may provide relief from the registered sex offenders list requirement if certain criteria is met. If an offender’s victim is between the ages of 14 and 17, which is within four years of the offender’s age, and the victim claims to have been consensual in the sex act, the offender may petition the court for relief. The offender also must have no other records that require registering.
It is very challenging to be removed from the registered sex offenders list, which is public across the nation, and updated dynamically when a name is added. For those charged with sex crimes, it is important to defend your charges to the fullest extent upfront. The consequences of a conviction is, more often than not, for the rest of your life.
Source: FDLE Florida Sex Offenders and Predators, “Sex Offenders and Predators,” Aug. 28, 2014