Everyone knows that the difference between two consenting teens engaging in sexual conduct is quite different from an adult molesting a child. The latter is absolutely reprehensible. However, prior to Florida adopting the Romeo & Juliet law, the law failed to distinguish between the two acts. For example, if an 18 year old senior in high school was dating a 15, 16, or 17 year old and engaging in consensual sex with that partner, the law deemed the 18 year old as a sex offender or predator. The scenario usually happens like this. A 17 or 18 year old is engaging in consensual dating sex with a 14 or 15 year old and the mother of the younger minor disapproves of the relationship and presses charges against the older teen. When the teen admits to engaging in sexual conduct with the younger teen, the law convicts and the older teen would be required to register as a sex offender for life with horrible ramifications. Today, the law reflects an attempt to correct such harsh penalties and prison terms for these types of behaviors.
In July 2007, Florida passed the Romeo and Juliet Law by enacting Florida Statute 943.04354. Persons may qualify to petition for removal from the sex offender registry if:
1. They were previously convicted of a violation of Florida Statute 794.011 (sexual battery) or 800.04(lewd & lascivious on person less than 16 years of age);
2. They were required to register as a sexual offender SOLELY on the basis of a conviction for one of those offenses
3. They were no more than 4 years older than the victim of the offense, and the victim was between the ages of 14 and 17 at the time of the offense.
If you think you qualify for removal of your name from the sexual offender registry based on the above circumstances, please contact my office at 904-355-8888 for assistance in guiding you through the process.