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Understanding Florida's sex offender registration requirements - III

In a series of ongoing posts, our blog has been examining how those men and women who are convicted of sex crimes here in the state of Florida should be aware that in addition to large fines and lengthy prison sentences, they will also be added to the state's sex offender registry.

Specifically, in our last post on this topic, we discussed the rather onerous and invasive registration obligations that those classified as sexual predators or sexual offenders will be required to meet upon their release from custody. In today's post, we'll examine whether it's possible for a person to ever be removed from the registry.

Removal from the sex offender registry

In general, state law dictates that a person designated as a sexual offender is required to register for life unless 1) they receive a full pardon, or 2) they secure some manner of post-conviction relief relating to the underlying offense.

Another potential option for people designated as sexual offenders is to seek removal 25 years after their lawful release, meaning not just the completion of their prison term, but also any probation or parole ordered thereafter.

Those seeking to go this route must also be able to satisfy other conditions, including:

  • They have not been arrested for any criminal offense -- felony or misdemeanor -- since the lawful release.
  • The underlying sex crime for which they were convicted is not found among a list of enumerated serious offenses, including false imprisonment, sexual battery, kidnapping, etc.  

As far as those who are designated sexual predators are concerned, the unfortunate reality is that they have no mechanism through which to petition the court for removal. In other words, there is currently no process under state law to remove this designation.

We'll discuss possible release from the sex offender registry via something known as the Romeo & Juliet Law, and the registration requirements for out-of-state sex offenders in a future post.

As always, please remember that the purpose of this discussion is not to cause unnecessary alarm, but rather to impress upon people the gravity of their situation and the corresponding need to consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible given the stakes involved.

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