Can I Remove My Florida Sex Offender Registry?
After a conviction for certain sex offenses in Florida, you will have to register your name and personal information on the state sex offender registry. You may not even realize that your conviction requires this registration, or perhaps you were only informed of this requirement when you accepted a plea deal. The reality is that the Florida justice system does not recognize this registration as a punishment, even though it bears a significant impact on your life.
If you are in a situation where being on the Florida sex offender registry is making it difficult to move forward with your life, you may wonder if it is possible to remove your name from this database. The short answer is yes, but it is a difficult process with no guaranteed outcome.
Methods of Removing Your Name from the Florida Sex Offender Registry
The State of Florida carries some of the toughest sex offender laws in the nation. For those unfortunate enough to be convicted of such crimes, registration is often for life with few possibilities of getting off the list. Worse, sex offender information is available to the public, regardless of the severity of the offense. This can make it difficult for registered individuals to find work, housing, or be a part of their communities.
Below are some of the avenues available to pursue removing your name from the Florida Sex Offender Registry.
Romeo and Juliet Law
In some cases involving youth sex offenses, it may be possible to remove your name from the registry under certain circumstances. Whether you received a sex offender or sexual predator status, you can request that your name be removed from the registry if all of the below apply:
- Age of the victim was between 13–17 years old;
- You were less than five years older than the victim;
- Your conviction involved sexual battery, computer pornography, sexual performance by a child, or lewd and lascivious conduct;
- You have no other prior convictions; and
- Your crime did not violate federal law and was consensual with the victim.
Understand that even if you meet all of these criteria, the chance of successfully petitioning your case is very low. If your attempt to clear your name from the registry fails, you have to wait 25 years after your sentence is complete to try another avenue. You cannot file under the Romeo and Juliet Law a second time.
Another possible way to remove your name from the Florida sex offender registry is to have your conviction vacated. This will require a skilled appeals attorney to guide you through the filing process and represent you if your case goes back to trial. The prosecuting attorney may opt to not litigate, allowing your conviction to be overturned.
After 25 Years
In Florida, individuals on the sex offender registry can apply for removal once 25 years have passed since the completion of their sentence. The length of a sentence includes more than just your jail time. If you are on probation or parole, the 25-year rule begins at the end of those requirements.
To qualify to file this type of petition, you will need to make sure you meet the below criteria:
- You have not been arrested for any felony or misdemeanor since your release.
- Removal is only for sex offenders; Florida law does not allow anyone labeled as a sexual predator to remove that designation.
- The offense that triggered registration wasn’t a more severe offense, such as sexual battery (rape), false imprisonment, or kidnapping.
Receive a Full Pardon
While receiving a pardon from the governor of Florida would remove you from the sex offender registry list, the chances of this happening are slim to none. Not only is there several years’ worth of pardon request backlog, but the chances of receiving one at your pardon hearing are unlikely.
Removing Out-of-State Designation as a Sex Offender
If you have a sex offense conviction in another state and now live in Florida, Florida law requires you to register on the sex offender registry if the other state requires you to do so. This condition has nothing to do with Florida crimes that would require your name to be put on the list, instead depending on what the original state demands.
A second requirement has you register as a sex offender in Florida if the out-of-state offense is of a crime that would trigger registration in Florida had the offense been committed in Florida.
If the first scenario applies to you, you may be able to request that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) remove your name if your out-of-state registration no longer applies. It is on you to demonstrate this fact to FDLE.
Trust a Knowledgeable Orlando Criminal Appeals Attorney to Review Your Options
Removing your name from the Florida Sex Offender Registry is anything but easy. The laws are complex, and the likelihood of success is limited, especially if you do not have a highly qualified attorney guiding you through the process. Many of these options only give you a single chance, and if unsuccessful, you must wait the full 25 years after your sentence has been completed.
Our goal is to help you get this incident behind you and encourage you to maintain pride, get the help you need, and move past this dark point in time. We represent clients, not criminals. We represent people, not victims. And we recognize that people need help finding that second chance.
If you are looking to appeal an unjust court decision, trust the Orlando appellate lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm to be by your side every step of the way. With over 100 years of combined experience, our background as former Florida prosecutors will help position your appeal for the best possible outcome. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.