Florida Court Discusses When a Person Must Register as a Sexual Offender

Often, people who are convicted of sex crimes are required to register as sex offenders. Thus, if a person is required to register as a sex offender and fails to do so, it can result in a reconviction of their probation. Recently, an appellate court in Florida analyzed whether the court must explicitly designate a person as a sexual offender for the person to be required to register as a sex offender in a case in which the defendant’s probation was revoked for failing to register. If you are a resident if St. Petersburg currently charged with a sex crime, it is prudent to consult a trusted St. Petersburg sex crime defense attorney regarding your options for protecting your interests.

Factual and Procedural Background of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant was charged with false imprisonment, aggravated battery, and lewd or lascivious battery, in 2002. The charging information alleged that the defendant engaged in sexual activity with a person between the ages of twelve and sixteen. He pleaded guilty to the aggravated battery and false imprisonment charges, and the State agreed not to prosecute him on the lewd and lascivious battery charge. After the defendant completed his sentence, he was released on probation.

Reportedly, six years later, the defendant was charged with the failure to register as a sexual offender. In response, he filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that he had never been designated as a sexual offender, and an automatic designation without a hearing violated his rights. The court denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss, finding there was a sexual component to the underlying claims. The defendant pleaded guilty and reserved his right to appeal the denial of his motion.

Sexual Offender Registration Requirement

Under Florida’s sexual offender registration statute, if a person is convicted of an enumerated crime, he or she is both designated as a sexual offender and required to register as a sexual offender. The list of enumerated offenses includes both false imprisonment and kidnapping, even though neither crime requires the State to prove a sexual component.

On appeal, however, the defendant argued that the State was required to prove a sexual component to his false imprisonment conviction prior to deeming him a sexual offender and imposing upon him the registration requirement. The court disagreed, finding that Florida case law did not support any such requirement. Rather, the court stated that the statute did not require the trial court to set forth written findings that a person is a sexual offender in cases in which the defendant is convicted of an enumerated crime. Thus, the court affirmed the trial court’s ruling.

Meet with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are charged with a crime of a sexual nature, it is in your best interest to meet with an experienced St. Petersburg sex crime defense attorney to discuss what penalties you may face if you are convicted. William Hanlon of Hanlon Law is a criminal defense attorney who is proficient at defending people charged with sex crimes, and he will zealously pursue the most favorable outcome possible under the circumstances. You can contact Mr. Hanlon via the form online or at 727-897-5413 to schedule a meeting.

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