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Florida sex offender rate is rising

According to a recent tally by the Florida Legislature's Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, the number of sex offenders in Florida communities in 2012 has increased by 28% since 2005.

True, Florida has warm weather, yet the balmy winters do not make life any easier for those convicted of a sex crime. Specifically, the office also found that almost a quarter of sex offenders can't get a driver's license or state-issued ID -- despite a legal requirement mandating them to obtain one. Many homeless sex offenders are also unable to comply with law's registration and notification process.

In response to the increase, one commentator alleged that sex crimes are too severe on high-school age offenders, and are contributing to the rising number of the state's offenders. For example, the commentator argues that a high-school senior dating a freshman shouldn't be prosecuted as an adult.

Florida readers may wonder whether the commentator's allegation has any factual basis. According to sexual assault data compiled several years ago by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the Uniform Crime Reporting program of the FBI, single-offenders of all ages constituted about 91% of the sexual assaults for the year being studied. Of that portion, the offender ages were as follows: almost 11% were younger than 18 years old; 8% were between ages 18-20; around 31% were ages 21-29; and almost 41% were age 30 or older.

Thus, for the year being studied, juvenile offenders made up less than a quarter of the total sexual assaults. Those figures may be different when all types of sex crimes are considered, however.

In any event, it remains a contentious issue whether such young offenders should be tried as adults. College and high school students charged with a sex crime are at special risk of suffering consequences which could affect their future educational, career and professional goals. An experienced criminal defense attorney might be able to successfully present such mitigating factors to a jury.

Source: NorthEscambia.com, "Number Of Sex Offenders In Florida Increases Dramatically," Dec. 21, 2012

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