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Traffic violation highlights stigma of sex offender registration

We often discuss the stigma that comes with being a registered sex offender. In fact, it is one of the harshest penalties of a sex crime conviction but many people fail to appreciate just how much of a person's life can be affected by that label.

For instance, even if you were convicted of a sexually-related crime at a time before you matured or got some much-needed counseling, you can be understandably upset when you are still defined by that act. The conviction may come up in job interviews, when signing rental agreements and when you meet someone with whom you want a serious relationship. Further, it can create a stain on your criminal record that is seen in every future run-in with the law.

For instance, a Florida man was arrested after police discovered he was operating a transportation business even though he has a suspended license. He is accused of driving a van that brought young children to and from school even though he didn't have a license. Of course the safety of the children is a top priority in this situation, but the man's status as a registered sex offender seemed to elevate the situation, perhaps unnecessarily.

The man was convicted on a sex-related crime back in 1989, or more than 25 years ago. While the incident evidently involved a minor, he was not ordered to stay away from children as a result of the conviction and there is no indication he has any history of repeat offenses. The issue in this case was that he was driving without a license; still, his status played a significant role in the reporting and investigating of the situation.

This is a strong example of how long a sexual offense can follow you after conviction. It is also a reminder that being a registered sex offender can immediately change people's perception of you, which can be enormously upsetting and frustrating. Working with your attorney to protect yourself from conviction as well as any future incidences that may arise can prove to crucial in trying to move past such a serious situation.

Source: WTSP, "Sex offender found driving school bus without license," Jenny Dean, Oct. 26, 2015

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