Court Discusses Florida Sex Offender Registration Requirements

Many people convicted of sex crimes are required to register as sex offenders as part of their sentence, and if they fail to register, they can be charged with a criminal offense. Not all defendants who are convicted of sex crimes must register as sex offenders, however, as explained in a Florida appellate case recently in which the court affirmed the dismissal of an information charging the defendant with failing to register as a sex offender, finding that it was not required under the terms of his sentence. If you were charged with a sex crime in Clearwater, it is in your best interest to speak with a seasoned Clearwater sex crime defense attorney regarding what steps you can take to protect your rights.

Facts and Procedure of the Case

It is alleged that in 2002, the defendant was convicted of attempted lascivious and lewd molestation, after which he was sentenced to prison term of fifteen years and fined $10,000. After the defendant’s release from prison, the State filed an information alleging that the defendant failed to report to register as a sex offender, as required under Florida law. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the information, arguing that he did not qualify as a sex offender under the law, and therefore was not required to register regardless of the fact that he had been released from prison, as his fine had not been released and discharged. The trial court agreed, dismissing the information. The State appealed the trial court ruling, and on appeal, the appellate court affirmed.

The requirement to Register as a Sex Offender

Under the applicable law, a sexual offender is a person convicted of one of many enumerated crimes, or a similar crime in another jurisdiction, who has been released from the sanction imposed for his or her conviction. Sanctions include but are not limited to incarceration and fines. In the subject case, the court noted that the defendant was convicted of one of the crimes listed in the Florida statute defining sex offenders.

The court explained, however, that the sanction imposed on the defendant included a $10,000 fine, which was not imposed as a cost or as a lien. The State argued that the statute required the defendant to be released from his sanction, which could be his fine or his incarceration, but the court disagreed, finding that a plain reading of the statute did not support this interpretation. Instead, the court found that the sanction imposed on the defendant, as a whole, had not been released, and therefore, the defendant was not required to register as a sex offender.

Speak with a Trusted Criminal Defense Attorney

If you reside in Clearwater and are currently accused of committing a sex offense, it is wise to meet with a trusted attorney to discuss your potential defenses. Attorney William Hanlon of Hanlon Law is an experienced Clearwater sex crime defense attorney who will fight zealously on your behalf, to help you seek the best outcome available under the facts of your case. You can reach Mr. Hanlon via the form online or at 727-897-5413 to set up a confidential and free meeting.

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