In Florida, individuals convicted of sexual or sexually-motivated offenses
may be made to register as Sexual Offenders or Sexual Predators, depending
on the severity of their underlying crimes.
Both Sexual Offenders and Sexual Predators must register with their county
sheriff's office. In Miami-Dade County, that agency is the Miami-Dade
Police Department. In Broward County, that agency is the Broward Sheriff's Office.
Not only must Sexual Offenders and Sexual Predators register initially,
but they must register as ordered. This may be twice a year, it may be
quarterly. Regardless, when you become a Sexual Offender/Predator, you
will be informed of your registration requirements.
It is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in state prison
for a Sexual Offender/Predator to fail to register. This can be problematic
for the accused because based on their prior
, the accused may find themself enhanced as a
Habitual Violent Offender (HVO)
if they were convicted of their sex offense within the past 5 years. If
the accused is charged with failure to register as a sexual offender and
they are designated an HVO, they will be facing a 5-year mandatory minimum
sentence, in addition to an increased
If the underlying sex offense occurred more than 5 years ago, then the
accused will not be an HVO. However, the State of Florida still considers
these offenses to be serious. The good news is that by coming into compliance,
an accused person may be able to avoid legal consequences.
The aim of the sex offender registration laws is to get sex offenders to
register so that law enforcement can keep track of them. Many times, people
may move without informing the police and as a result, they do not receive
their registration notices in the mail. As well, people just sometimes forget.
Sometimes, people will forget to register one month, but when they come
to the police station to register during the following month, they are
arrested for having failed to register in the previous month. It sounds
unfair, almost as if somebody is being punished for doing the right thing.
But it happens.
As a Miami-Dade County
criminal defense attorney practicing in Miami-Dade and Broward County, I deal with sex offender
registration issues regularly. I find that prosecutors use these registration
laws as a way to take a second shot at alleged sex offenders. Look, the
accused offender has already been punished. They have completed their
jail or prison time and probation. But prosecutors see it differently.
Also, if you are on probation for a sex offense and fail to register, not
only will you be charged with a new crime, you will also be facing a