The majority of individuals who have been convicted of a crime and are released after serving the entirety of their prison sentence can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that they not only have their freedom, but also a fresh start as they will likely have little — if any — contact with law enforcement going forward.
The same cannot be said for those convicted of sex crimes here in Florida. Indeed, state law mandates that these people must register as either a sexual offender or a sexual predator upon their release, meaning they will have to provide local law enforcement with comprehensive personal information several times a year and abide by a series of rather stringent requirements, which we’ll begin examining in a series of posts.
Sexual offender v. sexual predator: An important distinction
While the public may use the terms sexual offender and sexual predator interchangeably, it’s important to understand that they are actually two very distinct classifications as far as the state’s registry is concerned.
In general, a sexual offender is defined as someone who has been convicted of any qualifying sexual offense either here in Florida or another state. While a complete listing of these qualifying sexual offenses is clearly beyond the scope of a single blog post, some of the more notable qualifying offenses include false imprisonment, human trafficking and sexual battery.
In contrast, a sexual predator is defined as someone who has been convicted of what Florida law classifies as a sexually violent offense and who was the recipient of a written court order designating them a sexual predator.
As we will explore in future posts, this distinction makes a major difference in terms of everything from the frequency with which a person must register with law enforcement officials to the possibility of someday being removed from the registry altogether.
In light of the incredibly serious consequences resulting from a sex crime conviction, it’s imperative that anyone facing these charges consider consulting with an experienced legal professional as soon as they are arrested or learn that they are under investigation.