Being added to Florida’s sex offender registry can have some major collateral consequences in both your personal and professional life, including the types of jobs you can hold and even where you can live. Below you’ll find the answers to some of the most common questions we hear about Florida sex offender laws.
Each state, including Florida, sets its own laws and guidelines for placement on the state sex offender registry. Under Florida law, a registered sex offender must have been convicted of a “qualifying sexual offense,” including but not limited to:
Any qualifying offense need not have been committed in Florida. In addition, if a person is convicted of racketeering or other illegal debt-related crimes, they may be designated a sex offender—even if acquitted of the underlying sexual crime—if the trial court finds that the racketeering activity involved at least one “qualifying sexual offense.”
Not all sex crimes are equal, and in general, those convicted of “lower level” crimes like public indecency or statutory rape will be subject to fewer rules and restrictions than those convicted of serious or violent felonies. In Florida, there are three categories of sex offenders: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3.
Level 1 is the lowest level of sex offender, and most Level 1 offenders are required to report to the Sheriff’s Department to update their personal information just twice per year. The Level 1 classification is often used for “one-off” charges that may not reflect a true criminal nature—for example, a young adult with no criminal history who received a sexually explicit photograph from an underage paramour, or someone convicted of lascivious behavior after streaking at a political protest. Level 1 sex offenders may be able to seek their own removal from the registry after a certain period of time or if the underlying offense is expunged.
Level 2 sex offenders are those who have been deemed more likely to re-offend than Level 1 sex offenders, whether due to the nature of the crime or their past criminal history. Most Level 2 sex offenders will need to check in with the Sheriff’s Department four times per year until their registration requirement ends.
Level 3 sex offenders are legally classified as “sexual predators,” and are subject to a much stricter list of requirements than Level 1 and Level 2 offenders. Sexual predators are those who have been convicted of a capital, life, or first degree sexually violent felony or a felony involving a minor victim. They must remain on the registry for life, and are prohibited from living or working within a certain radius of schools, daycares, public parks, and other areas where children are likely to be present.
If you are found guilty of a qualifying sexual offense, you are required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life.
If you fail to register as a sex offender in Florida, you will be facing a 3rd degree felony. This offense is punishable by electronic monitoring for:
To know where a sex offender can live in Florida, we must consider where sex offenders cannot live: within 1,000 feet of a school, daycare, playground, or park where children play. Certain parts of the state may have even stricter geographical restrictions.
No. Disney does not allow registered sex offenders to attend any of their parks.
Plus, if you are on probation for a sexual offense, visiting Disney would be in violation of the condition of your probation that says not to work or have contact with children.
If an out-of-state sex offender is in Florida for more than three days during the calendar year, they must:
Being classified as a sex offender can be a far more life-changing event than the conviction of the underlying crime. If you're convicted of a sexual offense and designated a sex offender, you may need to move, change your child’s school, or find a new job—all based on your placement on the sex offender registry—and then face the risk that you’ll be forced to move again if a park or school is built in or near your new neighborhood.
These collateral consequences of a sex crime conviction make it that much more important to hire a sex crime lawyer before you make any binding decisions. There are many potential defenses to the various “qualifying sexual offenses,” and an experienced Florida trial attorney can evaluate all the defenses that may be available to you.
Whether you decide to negotiate a plea agreement or choose to plead your defense in a jury trial, having high-quality legal counsel on your side can be a life-saver. If you’re in need of a sex crime lawyer in Daytona Beach or the surrounding areas, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 386-222-6677 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced sex crime attorney.