Sex offenders are unusual amongst convicted criminals who have already served their punishment meted out to them by the court. Even after they have been released from jail, they must register twice a year with law enforcement officials in the county they live in or wherever they have been requested to register. The requirement is rigidly enforced and sex offenders who fail to adhere to the requirements, often because they do not understand exactly what they have to do, risk being arrested again on a 3rd degree felony charge. Sex offenders who fail to satisfy the authorities may need an experienced Florida sex offender defense attorney to help make sure they are not unfairly dealt with.
The details of the requirements for registration are clearly spelled out, but it may not be easy for some people who have been convicted of a sex offense to understand how they must comply.
The registration has to take place during the offender’s birth month as well as six months later every year. The registration process involves attending the county law enforcement center and presenting identification which is up to date and shows where the offender lives at that point in time. An example of the sort of identification required is a valid driving license or I.D. card which shows the address and a recent photo.
The complication comes when the offender shows up for registration, yet fails to show identification which matches the requirements. This may be because there hasn’t been time for the offender to get a new ID card or driving license before having to attend registration.
It is also somewhat subjective whether a photo shown on a driving license or ID card is regarded as good enough to be classified as “recent”. It doesn’t take too much difference between what the offender looks like and what the photo looks like for the registration process to have failed and a warrant for arrest issued for the offender.
In a recent Appeals case, Frank Boltri, a registered sex offender, was appealing against a charge of failing to register correctly after appearing at his normal registration center with an expired license. At the time, the officer who dealt with him told him to return with a valid license “within 48 hours”. Boltri apparently believed that he would not be able to get a new license in that tine and thought that the fact that he had shown up personally at the registration center was good enough.
The Appellate Court ruled against Boltri and affirmed his conviction for failing to register, a crime in Florida, which can result in an additional 5 years in jail.
In Boltri’s case, the Court argued that he had had sufficient time to make sure that he was able to present a valid license with both photo and current address on it and failure to understand the importance of the requirements was an insufficient defense.
In some cases, it seems that Appellate Courts do allow failure to show the correct details at registration as a defense but only in situations which prevent the offender from procuring the paperwork they need like a tornado, earthquake, flood, storm or hospitalization.
Because of the severity of registered sex offender requirements in Florida, if you are a sex offender yourself and believe you may be in danger of failing to re-register as required you should contact a Miami defense attorney to make sure that you are fairly dealt with by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
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If you have any questions about this or any other criminal accusation, call Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Albert Quirantes at: 305-644-1800 or visit our homepage www.CriminalDefendant.com for a direct link to the office or a text message or a map and directions to our office.