How Does Probation Work for a Registered Sex Offender?

May 11, 2022 Probation Violation, Sex Crimes

Sex crimes are very serious offenses, and the state of Florida takes does not take them lightly. If someone has been accused of a sex crime, they face harsh consequences such as fines, potential jail time, and the social stigma of being placed as a registered sex offender.

In some cases, a guilty verdict may not necessarily mean that the defendant has to go to jail. There may be an offer of probation as an alternative sentence. To read about the difference between parole and probation, you can read our blog post here.

The obvious benefit of getting probation instead of jail time is to avoid going behind bars. That does not mean that there are no strict rules to follow as a person placed on probation. Rules for sex offender probation are strict, and all the programs must be followed successfully. If you have been accused of a sex crime and believe you are eligible for probation, you can find helpful information here.

Florida Law for Sex Offender Probation

Florida Statute Section 948 covers probation and community control in the state. The statute covers the various laws and restrictions that are common under sex offender probations. The rules can change depending on each specific case. If a defendant has been placed on probation, they are given a probation officer assigned to their case who is in charge of enforcing the rules. The following is a list of regulations under probation for sex offenders:

  • Enrolled on the Sex Offender Registry – After registering as a sex offender, the defendant is responsible for reporting the enrollment status whenever it is required. Being enrolled on the sex offender registry will bar an individual from working with children, or living within 1,000 feet of a place where children go to school or play.
  • Reports to Your Probation Officer – There are scheduled times to meet and report to the assigned probation officer. If the defendant fails to report to their officer when they are scheduled, they may receive penalties.
  • Assigned Curfew – There is typically a curfew set into place with an individual on probation as a sex offender. The curfew would require the individual to be at home within an 8-hour period assigned by their probation officer.
  • Outpatient Treatment Program – There are treatment programs set into place for sex offenders on probation. The defendant must complete the program successfully, which is deemed complete by a therapist. The program will need to be completed within a certain amount of time, and the defendant must undergo an assessment for mental health at their own expense.
  • No Contact with the Victim or Children – There is typically no contact with any children or the alleged victim. However, the court can grant exceptions in certain cases. It is important not to assume that the court will grant permission to do so.
  • No Pornography or Internet Access – There are exceptions to this rule, however only the court can grant an exception.
  • Submitting DNA Samples and Testing – Random drug testing, electronic monitoring, and polygraph testing may all be required for a defendant who has been granted probation for a sex crime.
  • Warrantless Searches – Officers are allowed to search the defendant’s property without a warrant when they have been placed on sex offender probation.
  • Travel Restrictions – Unless the probation officer approves otherwise, an individual on probation for a sex crime is typically unable to travel.
  • Fines – The costs, fines, and expenses of the court must all be paid by the individual on probation.

What Happens if the Rules are Violated?

It makes sense that when a person is offered probation rather than jail time, they take it as a no-brainer. However, it is important to remember that violating any of the probation restrictions can also result in serious consequences. In fact, one-third of people fail to complete their probation successfully. To read more about probation violations in Florida, you can find our blog post here.

Eligibility for Probation as a Sex Offender

Not everyone is entitled to a probation offer rather than jail time. However, there are instances where the prosecution can give the opportunity of probation as an alternative. It is more likely that a defendant will get an offer for probation if the prosecution believes that they are likely to follow the requirements more successfully.

For example, if there is a defendant who is a first-time offender, they may be more likely to receive probation since they have the incentive to avoid future violations. If there is a less violent crime, it may also be a motivator to receive probation instead of jail time. However, it is important to note that it is never a guarantee that someone will be granted probation. If you believe that you are eligible for probation after being accused of a sex crime, it is important to reach out to a skilled defense attorney in your area.

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

Getting accused of a sex crime can be extremely stressful, especially when there are serious consequences that can result from a conviction. In the best of cases, the prosecution can offer probation as an alternative. The best way to find out if you are eligible for probation is to work with a skilled sex crime defense attorney in Tallahassee, FL.

Don Pumphrey and his team at Pumphrey Law Firm have experience representing clients for sex crimes across the state of Florida. They understand what is on the line with a sex crimes offense, and are willing to stand in your corner and fight for your freedom. Let Pumphrey Law strategize a strong defense to your case, and work to get you probation instead. Call (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message today for a free consultation for your case.

Written by Karissa Key

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