Removal of the Requirement to Register as a Sexual Offender or Sexual Predator in Special Circumstances
Sex crime convictions can come with the particularly harsh requirement of registering as a sex offender or sexual predator. Unless you have been pardoned, or your conviction for certain sex crimes has been set aside, you may be required to register for life. For many people facing allegations of a sex crime, this is one of the most terrifying aspects of being convicted. Often, registration as a sex offender or sexual predator results in being socially ostracized. You may have difficulty finding housing, going to school, working in certain jobs, or starting or maintaining a family. If you want to know more about the potential removal of the requirement to register as a sex offender and are eligible, you should retain an experienced attorney. At Hanlon Law, our St. Petersburg sex crime lawyer is committed to defending the rights of the accused.Removal of the Requirement to Register as a Sexual Offender or Sexual Predator in Special Circumstances
Under special circumstances, you can petition to ask the court to remove the registration requirement if you have been designated as a sex offender. However, a sexual predator designation is lifelong and permanent. It can never be removed once the designation has been placed.
One criterion of being able to petition the court for removal of the registration requirement is being convicted of certain crimes. You can be considered if you were convicted of a lewd and lascivious crime like lewd and lascivious battery, as well as sexual performance by a child and computer pornography. Another criterion is that you cannot have other similar sex crime convictions. For example, you cannot petition for removal if you had a child molestation conviction at age 16 and then another conviction at age 17.
Other criteria are that you cannot be more than four years older than your victim, and the victim needs to have been between ages 14 and 17. There is no leeway or wiggle room with these requirements. If you were convicted of statutory rape at age 17, and then you were convicted of a child pornography charge at age 19 involving a 14-year-old, you will not meet the eligibility requirements.
The petition must be made to the criminal division of the circuit court where the conviction was issued. The court will have discretion about whether to lift the requirement. In other words, you could meet the bare minimum eligibility standards, and the court could decide not to lift the requirement. A trial court can deny a petition for removal of a sexual offender designation based on the petitioner's criminal record as long as it indicates that it was exercising its discretion.
The state attorney needs to be given notice of your petition 21 days before the hearing. This gives the prosecutor an opportunity to present evidence that opposes your petition if they choose to do so. You should be aware that if the court decides to deny your request, you are not allowed to file another such petition. Accordingly, it is very important to retain a skillful criminal defense attorney for your first time petitioning. Simply meeting the basic eligibility criteria is insufficient.
If the court grants your petition, you will need to provide a certified copy of the order to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), which controls the sex offender registry. The FDLE updates the registry and can remove the information from the registry once it receives a certified copy of the order. However, you will still have a criminal record, which is public.Retain a Skillful Sex Crime Attorney in the St. Petersburg Area
Sex charges in Florida should be defended with the help of an experienced sex crime attorney. Even if you are convicted, however, there may be forms of post-conviction relief like the removal of the requirement to register as a sexual offender or sexual predator. Our founder, St. Petersburg criminal attorney Will Hanlon, has advocated for defendants in the criminal justice system since 1994 and may be able to help. You can call Hanlon Law at 727.289.0222 or reach us through our online form.