On behalf of The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A.
If a Florida resident is convicted of a sex crime, they may be required to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act. This federal law is known as SORNA and allows for federal and state authorities to track sex offenders who have returned to their communities once they have finished any prison time that they may have been sentenced to.
Each state, including Florida, determines what crimes are considered to be sex offenses and what punishments are appropriate for each crime. However, SORNA, which applies to all 50 states and U.S. territories, categorizes the crimes into tiers that are based on certain circumstances. For example, Tier III offenses include any offense that involved a minor who was under 13 years of age. Someone convicted of a Tier III crime faces a minimum of one year in prison and will be required to report as a sex offender for the rest of their lives. Tier II crimes involve sex trafficking or other sexual abuse of minors who are at least 13 years of age. Tier I crimes are crimes that are not included in Tier II or Tier III level offenses.
If a person fails to register under SORNA, they may face serious consequences. A person who knowingly fails to report may face a maximum 10 years in prison and be required to pay fines. If they also commit a crime while failing to report, they could face a maximum prison sentence of 30 years.
The punishments for those who were accused of sexual assault can be severe. An attorney may utilize certain defense strategies that may reduce the potential punishments, which may include keeping their client from being required to register as a sex offender.