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 sex crime, 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 bond.
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 South Florida 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 probation violation.
Call me today to confidentially discuss your case.