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Will you have to register as a sex offender?

A criminal conviction can be devastating and ruinous for anyone. Spending any amount of time in jail or having a stain on your criminal record can make it very difficult to rebuild your life after a bad decision. But for the people convicted of a sex crime, the damage of a conviction can be even more severe.

Many people convicted of a sex offense in Florida are required to register as sex offenders. This means that they must report to the sheriff's office and submit several pieces of information, including a photo, driver's license, address, employer and email addresses. This information is then made public. Appearing on the list of sex offenders can take a dramatic toll on a person's life and impact where they can live, work and spend time for as long as they are required to register. 

There are many offenses that can result in the requirement to register as a sex offender. Knowing what some of these are can be crucial for people who are under investigation for sexual misconduct or may be facing charges so that they know just how high the stakes are.

A person may have to register as a sex offender in Florida if he or she is convicted of:

  • Kidnapping
  • False imprisonment of a minor
  • Computer pornography
  • Sexual misconduct involving a minor
  • Lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of a minor
  • Sexual battery

There are many more offenses for which a person might be required to register, but this brief list might give you a good idea of how broadly drawn some of these offenses are. There are many people who are on the list who are not categorized as sexual predators, who were juveniles at the time of an offense, or were involved in a consensual relationship with someone who is just a few years younger but still considered a minor.

Appearing on the sex offender registry, no matter what the circumstances of the offense may have been, can be quite damaging to a person's family, career, reputation and future. Working with an attorney to defend against allegations of sexual misconduct can be an important step in trying to avoid a conviction or minimize the potential penalties.

Source: The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, "Florida Sexual Offenders and Predators," accessed on Aug. 18, 2014

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