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What is the difference between a sex offender and predator?

Being convicted of a crime can leave people with the label of "criminal" long after they have served their sentence and satisfied the terms of their punishments. This label can follow someone into job interviews, romantic relationships and even child custody disputes well into the future.

As damaging as this label can be, it can be even more so when it stems from a sex offense. Someone convicted of sexual misconduct can find it extremely difficult to try and move on in the wake of a conviction, especially when he or she is required to register as a sexual offender or predator. Knowing the difference between an offender and a predator can help people understand how high the stakes are when it comes to their defense.

While people designated as sex offenders and sexual predators are both required to register with state authorities, they are different in regards to how they are defined by Florida law.

In Florida, sexual offenders are people who have been convicted of a sex crime like child pornography or persuading someone under 18 to engage in prostitution.

A sexual predator, however, is a sex offender who is also:

  • convicted of a first-degree felony related to sexual misconduct, or
  • convicted of two second-degree felonies related to sexual misconduct

This means that if a person engages in violent behaviors or commits the most serious type of offense in regards to sexual conduct, he or she could wind up not only being required to register as a sex offender but to also be classified as a predator.

Anyone required to register with local law enforcement as a sex offender will be required to comply with strict rules and restrictions. However, sexual predators will typically find that their reporting requirements are more rigid and will last longer than people who are not defined as a predator.

The penalties for being convicted of a serious felony related to sexual misconduct can be devastating for any person. However, it may be possible to minimize the impact of a conviction or plea by seeking reduced charges and challenging the details of any allegations that could result in escalated designations and penalties.

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