Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the difference between a sexual predator and sexual offender?
To be designated as a predator, the subject must have been found by the court to be a sexual predator. Florida law requires a written court finding for sexual predator status. Sexual predator designation only applies to sex offenses committed on or after October 1, 1993. In addition, the subject must have been convicted of either one first-degree felony sex crime, or two second-degree felony sex crimes. In the latter situation, the second offense must occur within 10 years of the previous offense, conviction, or release from the sanction of the court, whichever is later. Additionally, as of July 1, 2004, anyone civilly committed under the Florida Jimmy Ryce Sexually Violent Predator Act must also register as a sexual predator.
The sex offender designation applies to any listed sex offense, regardless of the date the offense was committed, for which an offender is being released on or after October 1, 1997 from the “sanction imposed” for the offense, or, is currently under the care, custody, or control of the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC).
This law was prospective rather than retroactive. If the subject was released from sanctions before the October 1, 1997 date, the subject is not required to register.
What is the 1,000 foot rule and how does it work?
The 1,000 foot rule prohibits certain sex offenders or predators who are on probation from living within 1,000 feet of school, day cares, and home cares. Not all sex offenders or predators on probation have this restriction.
A sexual predator or offender just moved into my neighborhood and there are kids all over – how is this possible?
Sexual predators and/or offenders, once off probation or sanctions, are free to live wherever they want. Restrictions in reference to being around children are based on each individual case, and typically child contact is prohibited. Refer to question 6.
Why wasn’t I notified a sexual predator or offender moved into my neighborhood?
Under Florida law, local law enforcement is mandated to notify the community of the presence of a sexual predator and is authorized, but not mandated, to notify the community of the presence of a sexual offender. It is up to the agency to
determine who is included in the “community” and how they will be notified. The local sheriff’s office and police department are required to notify public schools and licensed day care centers of any sexual predators living within a 1 mile radius of that school or day care. They must do so within 48 hours of being notified by FDLE of the address of the sexual predator.
What does it mean when it says released/probation/conditional release in the status bar on the FDLE flyer?
The status bar on the FDLE flyer provides information as to whether a person is on some type of court ordered sanctions (probation) or if the person not under supervision. If it says “released” the person is usually allowed to live wherever they choose.
How do I locate information on a sexual predator or offender in my neighborhood?
There are several ways to locate this information. You can utilize the FDLE website at www.flde.state.fl.us and follow the screens to the search page that allows you to type in a zip code or address. If you do not have access to a computer you can contact the SPOT Unit at 582-7768 and we can mail a copy to you.
Can a sexual predator or offender live near a school?
Once off probation, a sexual predator or offender can live anywhere they like. If on probation, they usually are not allowed to live within 1,000 feet of a school.
Can a sexual predator or offender be around kids?
Unless court ordered by a judge, there is usually no restriction about being around kids.
If I receive a flyer on an individual, may I pass it out in my neighborhood?
Sexual predator and offender information on the FDLE flyer is considered public record in Florida. Therefore, you may give copies of the flyers to your neighbors. Keep in mind, however, that it is illegal to use public information regarding a registered sexual predator or offender to facilitate the commission of a crime. State law prohibits making any change to the public information provided. This includes any change, addition, or deletion from the information included on the Internet website listing and flyers.
Does Florida register juvenile sex offenders?
Florida registration laws require a “conviction” offense as criteria for registration (defined as including withholds of adjudication in addition to pleas of guilty convictions); this does not include delinquent adjudications and therefore, unless a juvenile has been tried as an adult under Florida law, no registration is required. This restriction is limited to court disposition, not the age of the offender. Any juvenile convicted as an adult of a qualifying sexual offense and released from sanctions on or after 10/01/1997 must register as a sexual offender or predator for life. Registration laws vary across states and few states require registration in some form for juvenile delinquent offenders. Any person adjudicated delinquent but required to register in another state or jurisdiction must register in the state of Florida if residency is established. The duration of Florida’s registration requirement and the amount of information released to the public will mirror the rules established by the other state. Though most states prohibit the release of registration information of juveniles to anyone other than law enforcement, some have authorized public notification despite an adjudication of delinquency.
What legal restrictions are sexual predators required to meet?
- Florida law required all sexual predators and offenders to possess a driver’s license or identification card with their current address listed. Anytime the individual moves, they are REQUIRED by law to update their identification within 48 hours.
- Many predators and offenders are under court ordered supervision and are required to meet certain written requirements. A violation could result in an arrest, and send him or her to prison. Depending on the facts of each case, some individuals may be required to avoid contact with children, or maintain a certain distance from schools or other related locations.
- Some predators and offenders that are on probation are not permitted to live within 1,000 feet of schools, day cares, and home care centers; this is known as the “1.000 foot rule”. Once probation is terminated, this rule usually no longer applies.
- Some individuals have completed their sentences and are no longer on probation or supervision. However, they must abide by the registration and address provisions, or they will face felony charges.
Not all sexual predators or offenders are violent. Some crimes involve physical violence, and others do not.
What can I do to protect my family and/or neighborhood?
Some sexual predators or offenders may attempt to have illegal contact with children, and those who are motivated will seek an opportunity, therefore:
Parents and guardians should always supervise any small children. Older more independent children should be reasonably supervised, and not travel alone.
- Be observant of your surroundings.
- Keep lines of communication open with your children.
- Be an informed citizen and maintain awareness of the sexual predators and offenders in your neighborhood.
Even though you or your neighbors may feel discomfort about a sexual predator or offender residing in your neighborhood, remember that the law prohibits you from uttering threats against a citizen, trespassing on private property, and/or assaulting a person, except in defense of yourself or another.