During an April hearing in New York, former professional football player Lawrence Taylor was designated a Level 1 sex offender after pleading guilty to two Class A misdemeanor sex crimes. Because Taylor lives in Pembroke Pines, Florida, he will have to register as a sex offender in Florida, which has some of the nation’s toughest sex-crime laws and registration requirements.
The Florida Public Safety Act gives law enforcement officials the authority to require registration from all sexual offenders and sexual predators residing in the state as well as the authority to notify residents of sexual offenders and sexual predators living in their communities. Under Florida law, sex offenders must register their home addresses, email addresses and instant message user names to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement twice a year. Sexual predators must register the same information four times a year. These registration requirements are in addition to any fines or jail time imposed for sex-offense convictions.
As evidenced by the different registration requirements, Florida distinguishes between sexual offenders and sexual predators. A sexual offender in Florida is someone convicted of committing, attempting, soliciting or conspiring to commit a sex crime after October 1, 1997, who also is under the control of the Florida Department of Corrections or a private correctional facility. A person designated a sexual offender in another state who resides in Florida is also deemed a sexual offender in Florida.
Someone who is convicted of a serious sexual crime, has a prior sex-offense conviction from within the past 10 years and is declared a sexual predator by a judge is deemed a sexual predator in Florida. Not all sexual offenders are classified as sexual predators, but once the classification is made, it is difficult to remove.