Failure to Register as a Sex Offender

what happens if you dont register as a sex offender

Sex crimes occur every day throughout the United States. Orange County, Florida, has the highest population of registered sex offenders and predators in the Sunshine State. The consequences of a sex offense conviction are complex and have a lifelong impact on one’s life. Registration on a state or national database is one of the major requirements if convicted of this crime. Failure to do so incurs severe penalties that require a strong legal defense to overcome.

Failure to Register as a Sex Offender Lawyer

Some states, like Florida, hand down harsher punishments than jail time or fines when one commits a sex crime. Once a sex offender completes their prison time, he or she must complete registration as a sex offender. Those who try to avoid the embarrassment and stigma around their sex crime by not registering will face additional penalties. Law enforcement treats this as a serious offense regardless of what excuse the offender offers.

Some of the ways one can violate sex offender registration requirements include:

  • Failing to register
  • Not obtaining a driver’s license, identification card, or renew one of these within 48 hours of initially reporting
  • Failing to report to the local sheriff’s office within 48 hours if planning to travel or move
  • Failing to notify the local sheriff’s office if plans to move or travel have changed
  • Not reporting in person to the sheriff’s office on the offender’s birthday  and six months after the birth month each year
  • Failing to update changed Information within 48 hours
  • Failing to register to a new state one moves

Registered sex offenders in Florida must always maintain their registration unless their status is removed or they receive a pardon or post-conviction relief.

Responsibilities as a Registered Sex Offender

Under Florida state law, convicted individuals who commit qualifying sex crimes must register with law enforcement within 48 hours of being released or once they have established a new residence. This registration takes place at a local sheriff’s office and must be in person.

Sex crimes related to rape, sexual assault and child molestation demand a sex offender to register with their county. Considering there is a limited 48-hour window to register after being released from prison or establishing a new home, it’s imperative to complete this step immediately. Additionally, a sex offender may be required to register with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement two to four times a year.

When registering, it’s necessary to provide several pieces of information to the authorities. Some of this information includes:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Set of fingerprints
  • Identifying physical traits
  • Social security number
  • Address of residence
  • Telephone number
  • Occupation and place of employment
  • Description crime convictions
  • Schools attended
  • Instant messenger name
  • Up-to-date photograph
  • Email addresses

If at any time this information changes, sex offenders must re-register the information within 48 hours.

Crimes Requiring Sex Offender Registration in Florida

There are numerous Florida State Statutes that qualify certain crimes as sex offenses requiring registration. In addition to being required to register as a sex offender, each charge carries its own harsh penalties.

Sex-related crimes that require registration include:

Restrictions for Sex Offenders

When one is under the supervision of law enforcement as part of their requirements as an offender, additional specific rules or guidelines may be imposed. One can expect to be regularly monitored for compliance with these rules and failure to do so can result in even more jail time.

Generally, a registered sex offender can expect the following limitations:

  1. Where a convicted individual resides may be restricted based on state or local law.  State law restricts registered sex offenders who victimized minors under 16 years of age from living within 1,000 feet of:
  • Schools
  • Daycares
  • Parks
  • Playgrounds
  • Any place frequented by children

Local ordinances may increase the required distance to as much as 2500 feet away.

  1. Access to social media websites, online gaming networks, use of online chat programs, and even visiting certain websites may be restricted due to one’s criminal status.
  2. Registered sex offenders also have restrictions on where they are allowed to work. If the victim was a minor, then the convicted individual cannot work or volunteer at any place where children are present.
  3. Another reality of being a sex offender are the limitations surrounding activities with children. Regardless if you are at a church function or a family get together, participation in activities involving children is strictly prohibited.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

It’s a third-degree felony with heavy consequences when one fails to register after being convicted of a sex crime. Penalties for a first offense may include:

  • Up to five more years in prison
  • An additional period of ten or more years upon a prior offense
  • Fines of up to $5,000

It’s critical that one follows through with all court-ordered requirements when convicted of a crime. If you are experiencing difficulty doing so due to circumstances beyond your control, consult an attorney immediately to work on your behalf. Some reasons one might experience difficulties staying in compliance are:

  • The sheriff’s office you must register in was not open due to holiday or other event.
  • You were prevented from registering by law enforcement or other state agencies.
  • You are incapacitated in a hospital or emergency situation

Remember, the state of Florida and its law enforcement agencies do not initially care what circumstances prevented you from registering in the initial 48-hour window. If you know that you will not be able to complete this process within this time frame, seek legal counsel immediately.

Seek Experienced Legal Counsel

It is crucial to obtain a lawyer for a strong defense if one violates the terms of their sex offender registration. Violations risk an unforgiving sentence of prison time and fines in Florida’s justice system, and an attorney can best determine precisely how the violation occurred and how to defend against it.

The Umansky Law Office understands that prosecutors must demonstrate your violation of the law was severe and intentional. Our 100 years of combined experience and former careers as prosecutors helps us work towards a disposition not requiring prison time and possibly a second-chance. Call us today at (407) 228-3838 to evaluate the circumstances of your case further so we can figure out the best next steps for your situation. It’s imperative we begin to work on your charges right away to increase your chance of no further prison time being ordered.