Registered sex offender restrictions in West Palm Beach
Unlike some other states, Florida does not place specific restrictions on where sex offenders may live, and multiple sex offender registrants may even share a residence. While the state does not impose residential limitations, some localities and municipalities may have their own restricts in place that prohibit registered sex offender from residing in certain areas, especially areas that are in close proximity to schools, parks, playgrounds, and daycare centers if an offender was convicted ofa crime that involved a victim younger than 16. Therefore, an individual whose name has been entered into the sex offender registry should always consult law enforcement or a West Palm Beach sex offender defense attorney to inquire about residential restrictions in the area to which he or she would like to move. While sex offender registration does not necessarily preclude an individual from living in the same household as a child or minor, there are some offenses that bar those who are convicted from visiting schools, parks, and childcare centers. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can advise registered sex offenders who have circumstances that may require them to be in close proximity to minors.
Failure to comply with requirements
In order to be required to register as a sex offender in Florida, an individual must first be convicted of a qualifying sexual offense and then be issued a written court order designating the individual as a sex offender or sexual predator. Alternatively, people who have been civilly committed under the Florida Jimmy Ryce Sexually Violent Predator Act may also be designated as sexual predators by a court and require registration. Those who are registered sex offenders in other states are also required to register in Florida upon taking up residence as defined by state law. If any person who is required to register as a sex offender fails to comply with Florida sex offender registration laws, he or she may be charged with a Third Degree Felony, which is punishable by up to five years of incarceration.
Most common defenses
While Florida courts have recognized that registered sex offenders have a continuing duty to remain registered, the continuing duty only exists if the individual has knowledge of the requirement. Therefore, if an individual was not adequately informed of his or her requirement to remain registered or of the frequency with which he or she must update his or her registration, the individual may not be convicted of Failure to Register. There is also a three year statute of limitation on Failure to Register offenses. If law enforcement has knowledge of where an individual lives, works, or is incarcerated, but fails to act on a warrant for Failure to Register within a three-year period, the charge would likely be dismissed due to expired statute of limitations. The three-year statute of limitations clock begins to run the moment law enforcement becomes aware of the existence of the warrant versus the date on which the individual last registered at the sheriff’s office.
Requesting removal from the registry
In some cases, a person who is convicted of a sex offense may successfully request to be removed from the registry. “Romeo and Juliet” law offenders may petition for removal if the registrant’s case meets the following four requirements:
- Tthe victim is at least 13 years old at the time of the offense and is no older than 17;
- the victim is no more than exactly four years younger than the registrant;
- the victim consented to the unlawful activity between the victim and the registrant;
- the offense for which the registrant is seeking removal is the only sex crime of which the registrant has been convicted.
Although a registered sex offender who meets these requirement is permitted to request removal from the registry, the decision to remove the registrant is at the discretion of a judge. Individuals who have been pardoned or received post-conviction relief are also typically excluded from the requirement to register as a sex offender. An experienced West Palm Beach sex offender registry lawyer can help a person determine whether he or she may qualify for removal or exclusion from the state sex offender registry.
Retain a Defense Attorney specializing in sex offenses
Those who are facing a Failure to Register charge in West Palm Beach should immediately consult with a sex offender defense attorney. A qualified attorney will understand the sensitive nature of the registrant’s case and treat him or her with confidentiality, discretion, and respect. There are many instances in which a person may be unaware that he or she is being charged in error or unjustly. There are also cases in which a person may be able to request to be removed from the sex offender registry.
West Palm Beach sex crimes lawyer Ohle Law, P.A. is available to conduct a free evaluation of the individual’s case to determine the best legal options.