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What do Romeo & Juliet have to do with sex offender registration?

Relationships of any kind can be extremely complicated. When the law is brought into a relationship, however, it can make things much more complex. Take, for example, romantic relationships between two people who are of different ages. In most cases, age may not be that big of a deal. But if one or both people are under the age of 18, questions regarding legality can arise and there could be serious consequences.

This is because the age of consent in Florida is 18, and though there are exceptions, a person who has sex with someone under 18 can be convicted of a sex crime and be required to register as a sex offender. However, in Florida, there is a statute referred to the "Romeo & Juliet law" that can provide some critical relief to people in this situation.

According to this statute, it is possible to petition the courts to have the requirement to register as a sex offender removed in certain cases involving two young people in a relationship.

For example, let's consider a young couple who starts dating in high school. He may be a senior, she could be a sophomore. He turns 18, goes off to college and the two remain together. If they have consensual sex but she is still under 18, he could be convicted of a sex crime and be ordered to register as a sex offender. 

Sex offender registries were not put in place to punish people like the two in this hypothetical example. That is why this Romeo & Juliet law was put into place. In accordance with this law, a person who meets certain criteria can petition to get off the list. These criteria include:

  • Victim who is between the ages of 13 and 17
  • Offender is not more than four years older than the victim
  • Any sexual activity was consensual
  • No other crime was committed

If you or your child is in this type of situation, legal support and solutions can be critical. A sex crime conviction in Florida can be devastating enough without the added humiliation and damage of being labeled a sex offender. In order to protect yourself or your loved one from these consequences, it can be crucial to work with an attorney.

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Attorney Warren Lindsey has been awarded the following credentials:

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