People who must register as sex offenders in Florida should understand how the state’s program works.

For some time now, most states have required people convicted of certain sexual offenses to sign up for what are called sexual offender registry programs. In Florida, the Department of Law Enforcement website notes that this has been the case in Florida since the Florida Public Safety Information Act went into effect on October 1, 1997. Amendments to the initial law have been enacted since then as well.

What is the registry?

The registry is essentially a database of information about all persons who have been convicted of sexual crimes. The point of the program is to track people identified as sexual predators and provide that information to the public. The stated goal is to let people know where potential dangers exist so that they can protect their children or the children who attend their schools or other facilities.

In addition to a national sex offender database and a state listing, there are additional websites available by which people can search for reported sex offenders. Homefacts.com is one of these sites. It allows users to search by name or address or to even click on a map and select individual counties to be shown the number of offenders reported to live there.

Who must register?

It is important to know that it is not only people convicted of crimes in Florida who must register with the state. Even if a convicted occurred in a neighboring state or one on the opposite side of the country, a person living in Florida at the current time must register in Florida.

Some of the crimes that can require participation in the sex offender registry program include the following:

  • Voyeurism via video of a child.
  • Sexual battery or misconduct.
  • Sexual performance of a child.
  • Sending pornography including a child.
  • Unlawful sexual acts with a minor.
  • Human trafficking, including buying or selling a minor for sex.

Registration can be required for anyone who has completed a jail sentence or who is out of jail on parole or probation.

How registration works

Anyone required to provide information as part of a sexual offender registry program must do with directly with a local sheriff's department. All personal identification must be disclosed. This includes email addresses, cell phone numbers, immigration or alien status and any information that provides details about the person's Internet access.

Sheriff's officials will provide details to any facility providing care or education to children within one mile of the registrant's location.

What defendants should do

As soon as a person is arrested for a sex crime, help is needed. Contacting an attorney is recommended as the legal defense process can be very complicated. A lawyer can help raise numerous defenses which may help avoid sex offender registration requirements.

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