One of the harshest penalties a person can face for a criminal conviction is the requirement to register as a sex offender. The reason why this particular penalty is so harsh is because being a registered sex offender is something a person may have to do for the rest of his or her life.
Further, the requirements can affect just about every aspect of life, including your family, your job and your social life, making it incredibly difficult to move beyond a sex offense, even after fulfilling the other obligations of a sentence.
For instance, the state of Florida requires registered sex offenders to report a long list of information to their local police. This includes:
- Physical descriptions
- Finger and palm prints
- Photographs of themselves
- Contact information for work and home
- Details on any vehicle they own
- All email addresses and online user IDs
All of this information goes on public record, making it possible for any person to look someone up in the registry. This means your neighbors, prospective partners, employers and anyone else can do a quick search and learn that you are a sex offender.
Having to register can also make it impossible to live where you used to live prior to your conviction. You may have to move so that you are not within a certain distance from areas where children congregate. This can be incredibly difficult and require you to move far away from your friends and family.
You might also lose custody of your kids, lose your job and be prohibited from engaging in activities like online dating or even owning a computer.
Considering how much is at stake and how severe the penalties are for sex crime convictions, it can be crucial that you are aggressive in defending yourself against charges. Even if you don't secure a dismissal of charges, you can work with your attorney to minimize a sentence and potentially avoid conditions like having to register as a sex offender.