Recent Beating Illustrates Difficulties Facing Registered Sex Offenders
In Orlando, a group of teens beat a registered sex offender and killed his dog in early December.
According to police reports, the victim was exercising his dog, a Pomeranian-Chihuahua mix, in the front yard of a group home for registered sex offenders when the teens attacked him. His dog, Daisy, unsuccessfully attempted to ward off the attackers, who repeatedly kicked and stomped her. The victim reported to police that the teens told him they "knew who he was and what he had done" before the beating. While the victim suffered minor injuries, Daisy died despite attempts by veterinarians to treat her injuries.
Problems Await Registered Sex Offenders
The recent incident in Orlando vividly illustrates the sort of difficulties registered sex offenders (RSOs) may face after release from prison. No matter the crime, registered sex offenders of all levels -- even level one offenders who pose little to no risk of repeat offense -- are subject to severe restrictions, both legal and practical. While draconian residency restrictions can leave RSOs without viable housing options, public prejudice can lead to joblessness and an increased risk of vigilantism, none of which serve the goal of preventing abuse to children.
There are a variety of charges that can result in a person being labeled a sexual offender. In some circumstances where the case has been vigorously defended, the prosecution may make a plea offer for a sentence that involves little or no jail time, but still results in that person being labeled a sexual offender. While the punishment may seem relatively minor, being labeled a sexual offender can have life changing consequences.
A sexual offender must provide information to state authorities, such as recent addresses, including work addresses and school. A sexual offender can also lose opportunities for work and be prevented from living in a desirable location.
A sexual offender's registration information and photo will be posted on the FDLE sexual offender public website and registration is required for life, unless a full pardon is obtained or the conviction is set aside.
A sexual offender who moves or even travels must notify the local sheriff's office, as well as the sheriff's office in the new residence or vacation location.
City or county rules and regulations may be even more restrictive than the state requirements.
For these reasons, it is important to have a criminal defense attorney who understands the issues. The decision to avoid a trial when offered a favorable plea agreement may at first seem a wise choice, even for a person who is innocent of the crime. A decision to accept such a plea agreement must be considered carefully if the end result labels a person as a sexual offender.
Knowledgeable Legal Representation is Essential
Convicted sex offenders may face not only harsh criminal sentences, but also unrelenting public prejudice after they have served their time. A criminal defense attorney who understands these issues can help those accused or convicted of sex offenses. For further information, contact a lawyer who practices criminal defense law.