In Florida, it just became harder to be a registered sex offender.
Today's Sun Sentinel told the story of a small Florida town that has effectively banned registered sex offenders from residing within the city of San Antonio, Florida, just outside of Tampa.
San Antonio's City Commission adopted an ordinance that bans sex offenders from living within 1,500 feet of any school, day care, public or private park and bus stop.
The ban applies to offenders who have been convicted of certain sexual crimes, including sexual battery, and lewd or lascivious battery, molestation, or conduct. And with the 1,500 foot restriction, the ban literally prevents any registered sex offender from living inside of the city limits.
Florida is a tough jurisdiction for registered sex offenders. Cities like San Antonio, and even entire counties such as Miami-Dade, have practically banished registered sex offenders.
The key, then, is how to avoid becoming a registered sex offender in the first place.
A good criminal defense attorney may be able to help you avoid registration if you are charged with a sex crime. You can avoid registration by either fighting the charges or entering a plea agreement to a lesser offense that will not result in registration.
Sex offender registration will place a black mark on you that can follow you for the rest of your life. Your information, including your alleged offense, will be available for the public to view online. And if you fail to register as a sexual offender, you will be facing five years in prison.
Sex crimes are among the worst charges you can face. Not only are they serious felonies that can result in prison time, the nature of the charges alone, even without being convicted, can ruin your life. Your friends, community, and even your family may look at you as some type of monster, even if the allegations are completely untrue.
Believe it or not, allegations of sex crimes are made all the time. Children may make accusations against one parent or the other during custody battles (almost always due to the coaching of the other parent). Grown men and women can lie, or at least highly embellish. It happens all the time, and innocent people suffer.
If you are facing a sexually-related criminal charge in Miami-Dade or Broward, contact me to discuss the matter privately. I may be able to assist you and hopefully prevent you from ever becoming a registered sex offender.