A person who is convicted of a sex offense in Florida faces steep penalties and a potentially long stretch behind bars. But even after serving that punishment, sex offender status can have a significant impact on your everyday life. That may include limiting where you live.
A federal appeals court recently shot down a challenge to a Miami-Dade County ordinance that bans sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of a school or certain other locations, Bloomberg reports. The law went on the books in 2015 but was made retroactive to apply to sex offenders convicted of crimes before that time.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit rejected a claim by two Florida sex offenders, who argued that the retroactive application of the law was unconstitutional. Although the court focused in large part on a procedural problem – the men waited until the last minute to spring the new argument – the ruling keeps intact a fairly common restriction on sex offenders residing near schools.
State law prohibits anyone convicted of a sex crime involving a minor under the age of 16 to live more than 1,000 feet away from a school, daycare center, playground, park, or other places commonly frequented by children.
Miami-Dade and other local governments in the Sunshine State have expanded the buffer zone. The county also prohibits certain sex offenders from loitering within 300 feet of schools, school bus stops, daycares, and other child safety zones.
Miami-Dade’s approach has been criticized for making it difficult for sex offenders to legally live anywhere within county lines. That has forced groups of convicted sex offenders to build makeshift camps under bridges, in trailer parks, and in an industrial zone near the airport.
The roving camps make it difficult for sex offenders to try to get their lives back on track. They also make it harder for law enforcement officers to track sex offenders, who are required to report their whereabouts.
If you or a loved one has been charged with or is suspected of a sex crime in Florida, it is vital to seek the advice of an experienced attorney. A Fort Lauderdale child pornography lawyer can help you understand your rights and options and start building the strongest possible defense.
At Whittel & Melton, our Florida sex crime attorneys represent clients throughout the Sunshine State who have been charged with a wide variety of offenses, including child pornography, sexual assault, rape, internet solicitation, and offenses involving victims who are minors. We work tirelessly to fight these charges head-on in order to get charges dropped or reduced whenever possible.
Our firm handles cases throughout the state, including in Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and Pensacola. Contact us online or call (866) 608-5529 for a free evaluation with a Fort Lauderdale child pornography lawyer.
This firm was extremely helpful and courteous to deal with. I did not expect to need their services, but was fortunate to find such a great firm. Thank you for your services. Emily Stafford
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