Registering as a Sexual Offender in Florida

June 3, 2015

Committing a sexual offense is a serious crime in Florida and has consequences beyond a prison sentence, fine, probation, or treatment program. Sex offenders must also register with their local sheriff’s offices, periodically report to the sheriff’s office, and keep law enforcement updated on their travel outside their counties of residence.

Who Must Register as a Sexual Offender?

In Florida, the following people must register as sex offenders:

  • Those who have been convicted of a sexual offense, including if adjudication was withheld, whether in Florida or in another jurisdiction.
  • Those who have been released from or who are currently serving parole, probation, or incarceration for a sexual offense.
  • Anyone who maintains a residence in Florida, whether permanent or temporary, and who has a requirement to register in another state.
  • A juvenile who was either tried convicted as an adult, or who was at least fourteen years old and was adjudicated delinquent for a qualifying offense.

For juveniles, there are fewer qualifying offenses than there are for adults. Qualifying offenses for juveniles include sexual battery, offenses involving children under twelve, and offenses involving force.

Florida gives some protection through the Romeo and Juliet law to young offenders who are arrested because of sexual activity with boyfriends or girlfriends. It provides that if the victim was between thirteen and seventeen, the offender was no more than four years older, and the sexual activity was consensual, the offender does not have to register as a sex offender.

Duties of Registration

Registering as a sex offender means that the offender must report to the local sheriff’s office and provide identifying and other information. The offender must complete a registration form at the sheriff’s office either twice yearly or four times yearly, depending on the offense. Offenses that include more frequent registry include sexual battery and offenses against minors. Those who have transient residences must report monthly.

Additionally, a sex offender must update his or her license or identification card within forty eight hours of changing residences or changing names. Offenders must register in all jurisdictions where they live, work, or go to school, even if it is only temporary. If an offender visits from another state for at least five days in the year, he or she must report to the sheriff’s office in Florida within forty-eight hours.

Offenders must maintain registration for the rest of their lives, unless they get a full pardon or post-conviction relief. In some rare circumstances, the offender may petition the court to remove the requirement to register. At least twenty-five years must have elapsed since the completion of the sentence, the offender must not have been arrested since his or her release, and the offense must not have been based on any of a list of crimes, including sexual battery, kidnapping, offenses against minors, and offenses involving force.

Failure to report is a third-degree felony in Florida.

Convictions for sex offenses have far-reaching consequences in Florida. If you have been arrested for a sexual offense, it is essential to retain an experienced attorney to defend your case. Please contact West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney William Wallshein for a free initial consultation.