New Florida laws target those convicted of sex crimes

On October 1, new legislation went into effect in Florida that includes many widespread changes to the state's sex-crime laws, including several amendments aimed at toughening the criminal sentences for those convicted of certain offenses.

However, these amendments do not end there. Indeed, Florida lawmakers also made many significant changes to the state's sex-offender registration statute. For instance, some of the more noteworthy modifications to this law include:

  • An offender must now provide the make, model, color, VIN number and license tag number of all vehicles he or she owns, which was previously mandated only when an offender was using the motor vehicle as a residence
  • An offender must report, in person, at the sheriff's office any change in vehicles owned within 48 hours
  • An offender must now produce his or her passport when registering, if he or she has a passport, and, if the individual is an alien, he or she needs to produce information about documents establishing his or her immigration status
  • An offender must now provide information about any professional licenses he or she may hold
  • An offender must now report within 48 hours at the sheriff's office if he or she establishes a "transient residence"
  • The list of offenses that require sex offender registration in Florida has been expanded, and now includes certain offenses involving those with developmental disabilities or those receiving mental health treatment

Interestingly, these recent changes also include an amendment that calls for criminal penalties when a registered offender "knowingly provides false registration information by act or omission."

Severe consequences often necessitate legal counsel

It is important to keep in mind, however, that these new changes are merely the most recent additions to the long list of restrictions already imposed upon those convicted of certain sex-crimes in Florida. In fact, since the inception of sex-offender registration laws in Florida, sex-crime offenders have had to deal with a plethora of long-term living restrictions, in addition to their possible jail sentences.

If anything, these new restrictions - not the mention the ones already in place - illustrate just how severe the consequences may be when facing allegations of sexual misconduct in Florida. Accordingly, if you have been charged with a sex crime, it is best to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A knowledgeable attorney can examine your specific circumstances and help explain your rights and options given your situation.

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