Being a registered sex offender is a life sentence

A recent article from the Associated Press highlights the growing number of people being placed on sex offender registries all over the country.  According to the report, there are more than 800,000 people on registries in the United States.  Their crimes vary from relatively minor indecent exposure charges to serious child molestation charges.  In certain states, Florida included, once you are placed on a sex offender registry, you can NEVER get off.

When someone is arrested for any sex crime in Jacksonville, they will most likely have a very high bond.  As high as if they were facing a murder charge with a lot less evidence.  The State Attorney’s Office then has about two and a half weeks to make a decision about what to do with the case.  They can file the case as charged, they can drop the case because of a lack of evidence, or try to negotiate a disposition prior the the filing decision.

Negotiations in sex cases are very important and can have lifelong consequences.  Sometimes, the prosecutor assigned to the case will offer to file a non-sex charge in return for the defendant serving jail time, going on probation, or both.  Sometimes, the prosecutor will offer the sex charge with no jail or prison time, but require sex offender probation with the added bonus of being labeled a sex offender for life.  In Duval County and every county in Florida, when you are convicted of a sex crime, such as sexual battery, sex offender probation is going to be part of the punishment.  Florida sex offender probation is the most difficult probation in our justice system.  An offender will be required to successfully complete psychosexual counseling, have no unsupervised contact with minors, cannot live within 1,000 feet of places where children regularly congregate, submit themselves to searches from the probation officer at all times, may have to wear an ankle monitor as well as many other conditions.

If a defendant survives the strenuous sex offender probation, they face the lifelong sex offender registry.  The defendant will have to tell the police where they live (sleep) and where they work FOREVER.  If a defendant moves from their residence, they must report it to the government within a certain time period.  Where the offender lives and what crime they were convicted of is available to the public at all times.

Sex offender registries are the only registries in our country.  A person can serve their time in prison for the crime, but never fully be able to move on with their lives, unlike ALL other criminal charges.  There is no “murder” registry.  There is no “theft” registry.  That is why it so very important to consult with an experienced sex crime attorney if there are even accusations or talk of sex charges.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Sex Crime Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.