All throughout the United States, task forces and sheriff’s departments are telling parents to check the online sex offender registry before allowing children to trick-or-treat, some towns offering a “trunk-or-treat” event where kids can get Halloween candy from trunks of cars in a parking lot to avoid potential danger. In New York, “Operation Halloween: Zero Tolerance” prohibits sex offenders from wearing masks or costumes or answering their doors on Halloween, instilling the idea in the mind of the community that there is nothing more frightening than the thought of a sex offender opening their door to innocent children.
Municipalities and counties all throughout Florida and the Southeast are in a race to push sex offenders into the neighboring communities. Many times, this push becomes a competition, leaving both law abiding citizens and sex offenders, many times one-time sex offenders, losing. However, not all offenders that are pushed into these communities are dangerous offenders. Some offenders had sex with their underage girlfriends. Some viewed child pornography. Some Florida residents are leaders in the ministry, such as teachers at local county schools who confessed to molesting students.
Florida and other states have attempted to crack down on sex offenders and those who fail in the registration process. Sometimes, those arrested for these types of crimes are arrested for failure to report a change in address within the proscribed period, sometimes failing by only a couple days. In these cases, it is imperative that one obtain an experienced attorney who can explain the delay, possibly having one’s new charge of failing to register one’s new address dismissed.
It is of further complication to all who are charged with enforcing these restrictions, that neither Florida Statute nor many of the local ordinances provide definitions for the places that sex offenders are forbidden from being, causing the determination of what is an appropriate and legal residence for these offenders, increasingly confusing and difficult.
Residency restrictions become more complicated when the one has any medical or special needs conditions that require any level of care. Even nursing homes and assisted living facilities are becoming wary of accepting released offenders because they want to avoid having sexual offenders registered at their addresses. This problem will worsen as prison sentences increase, resulting in older released offenders who are more likely to have deteriorating health conditions, with no real quality of life or decent residential opportunity.
Many do not think that the crime of failing to register as a sex offender is a serious offense, and if one has moved, that the location which one moves to will have no knowledge and will obtain no knowledge in the future of one’s past conviction. However, this is not the case. Fugitive Task Forces have been created to execute warrants for people accused of failing to register.
Sometimes, sex offenders did not register intentionally for fear of being identified as having a certain qualities or being involved with an act that one is ashamed of and is trying to distance oneself from. This is understandable, but not wise. The best option one can pursue when evading police for a crime like this is to turn oneself into authorities and immediately obtain an experienced attorney who can work with the State to have one placed on a light probation or community service, rather than being locked away, possibly for the rest of one’s life, because of a powerful-State operated legal system that might view one as a threat to society.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
Additional Source: Manufacturing Fear: Halloween Laws for Sex Offenders, Emily Horowitz