Consequences of being labeled a Sex Offender
Being arrested and later convicted for a sex crime can be devastating. In Fort Lauderdale alone, there are currently nearly 500 registered sex offenders and sexual predators, with many more in surrounding areas. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement categorizes convicts as sex offenders or predators based on the severity of the crime. There is a dangerous bias in our society against someone labeled as a sex offender, especially if the case involved a child. This type of stigma whether guilty or not will affect the accused for the rest of their life. Florida Sex Crimes Lawyer Jim Weick is available to discuss your case.
Sexual predators are defined as “repeat sexual offenders, sexual offenders who use physical violence, and sexual offenders who prey on children” (Fla. Sexual Predators Act, 775.21). Sex offenders are those who have been convicted of sexual battery, sexual assault, sex crimes against children, sexual misconduct, and similar crimes. People convicted of internet solicitation sending explicit material to a minor over the internet may be required to register as sex offenders. Additionally, even those who attempt but do not complete the crime, those who solicit another person to commit the crime, and those who conspire with others to commit the crime may all be designated as sex offenders. You may even be forced to register if you were convicted of a sex crime in another jurisdiction. Even some juvenile offenders must add their names to the registry. Sexual predators can never be removed from the list. Sex offenders may only be removed if they have been released from prison and all government supervision (such as probation) for 25 years without any arrests. If you are a registered sex offender in Florida because of an out-of-state conviction, you may be able to get your name removed from the list if your name has been taken of the sex offender registry in the state in which you were convicted.
But what consequences does a registered sex offender or sexual predator face? William Moore attorneys explains that your neighbors may be notified of your presence in the neighborhood if you are a registered sex offender and the sheriff must notify them if you are listed as a predator. Your picture, name, and address will all be listed on the online sex offender registry maintained by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Failing to register when you are required to do so is a felony in Florida.
If you are on the registry because you have been convicted of a crime involving a child under the age of 16, you may not be able to live within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, playgrounds, and other places children frequent. Some cities and counties have stricter rules about where sex offenders may live. Because the registry is publicly accessible information, you could have difficulty getting a job.
Many critics believe sex offender designation has gone too far. In a case that garnered nationwide attention, then 17-year-old Georgia teenager Genarlow Wilson was convicted of child molestation charges for a consensual sex act with a 15-year-old girl. Wilson spent more than two years behind bars before the Georgia Supreme Court overturned his sentence. Wilson had refused a plea deal which would have released him from prison at an earlier date, but required him to register as a sex offender. Opponents of sex offender registries point to Wilson’s case as an example of a person who does not pose a threat to the community, but would be required to register nonetheless. Despite these criticisms, sex offender registry laws continue to get stricter all over the country.
Consult with Fort Lauderdale Sex Crime Defense Lawyer Jim Weick
As a former Broward County prosecutor; Attorney Jim Weick relies on his experience to offer an insider’s assessment on the criminal justice system. This allows our sex crimes defense firm to assess the strengths and weaknesses of a case, permitting us to not only educate our clients but also make knowledgeable, polished decisions on how to proceed with clients charged with sex offenses in Florida.