Understanding the Florida Sexual Predator Designation

Florida Statutes § 775.21, also known as the Florida Sexual Predators Act, was established by the Florida Legislature to implement a strategy on how to deal with repeat sexual offenders, sexual offenders who use violence, and sexual offenders who prey on children.  Essentially, this strategy includes ensuring decisions to release sexual predators due to prison overcrowding are not made, providing for specialized supervision of sexual predators who are in the community by specially trained probation officers with low caseloads, requiring the registration of sexual predators with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, providing for public notification concerning the presence of sexual predators, and prohibiting sexual predators from working with children.

Courtroom1-300x225Offenders that must be designated as “sexual predator” include offenders convicted of:

  1. A capital, life or first-degree felony violation of kidnapping, kidnapping of a child under 13, false imprisonment, false imprisonment of a child under 13 where the victims is a minor or sexual battery, lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of persons less than 16 years of age, or selling or buying of minors, or something similar from another jurisdiction.
  2. Any felony violation or attempt of sexual misconduct with an individual with a developmental disability; or with an individual in a mental health facility; kidnapping, false imprisonment or luring or enticing a child where the victim is a minor; sections of the human trafficking statute; sexual battery; unlawful sexual activity with certain minors (24 year old engaging in sexual activity with a person 16 or 17 years of age); lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of persons less than 16 years of age; lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of an elderly person or disabled person; sexual performance by a child; computer pornography; traveling to meet minor; selling or buying of minors; among other violations.
  3. A felony or similar law of another jurisdiction.

The court for sentencing must make a written finding at the time of sentencing that the offender is a sexual predator.  The requirements under this section take effect 48 hours after sentencing and designation as a sexual predator and the Department of Law Enforcement will be notified by the clerk of court and to the Department of Corrections if incarcerated.

If a sexual predator is not incarcerated, the offender must (for life) register within 48 hours with the local sheriff’s office, secure a Florida driver license identifying himself as a sexual predator, provide fingerprints if necessary, register all electronic mail addresses and Internet identifiers and each Internet identifier’s corresponding website homepage or application software name with the Department of Law Enforcement, register all home and cell telephone numbers, notify of any travel to another state or jurisdiction or moving to another state or jurisdiction. Failing to register by sexual predators are felonies of the third degree.  Law enforcement agencies must notify members of the community and the public of a sexual predator’s presence.  These notifications take place on the Internet.

The requirements of sexual predators and the designation of sexual predator is a complex process and an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorney is needed to assess the requirements and to assess defense of a sexual predator designation.  Contact the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC for a consultation.

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