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Florida’s Romeo and Juliet Law

In the State of Florida, there is a law that is affectionately titled the “Romeo and Juliet” law. This was created in 2007 with the express purpose of focusing on young people who are convicted of statutory sex crimes, and give them an opportunity to avoid a stain on their futures in the form of being listed on the sex-offender registry. Sexual acts with minors are crimes in the eyes of the state, but when two persons who are minors engage in consensual sex, there is an opportunity for them to be considered “Romeo and Juliet” offenders.

This law did not establish a “near-age” defense in which there is unlawful sexual activity with a minor; it merely establishes a ground rule for two consenting minors. The ultimate intent of this law is to give certain individuals who are convicted of sexual activity with minors an opportunity to avoid being designated as a sexual offender or sexual predator, and thus being included on the lifetime sex offender registry.

Who is Eligible?

There are certain requirements that must be met in order to fight for exclusion on the sex offender registry:

  • You were convicted of “Sexual Battery” or “Lewd or Lascivious Offense”
  • There was a minor between the ages of fourteen and seventeen involved in the consensual sex
  • At the time of the sexual encounter, the minor cannot have been more than four years younger than the defendant
  • The designation of sexual offender or predator is due entirely because of the above convictions There can be no other instances of “Lewd or Lascivious Offense”, “Sexual Battery”, or “Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition using a Computer” present
  • There can be no other instances of “Lewd or Lascivious Offense”, “Sexual Battery”, or “Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition using a Computer” present

Four Year Window

As mentioned, the minor involved in the consensual sex must be no more than four years younger than the defendant. This goes down to the specific amount of days (1,460 days) after the minor’s birthday. Should the defendant be found one day past that amount, then they are found ineligible to petition for the Romeo and Juliet law.

Before 2007 Cases

If you were convicted of a crime that falls under the requirements for Romeo and Juliet, but it happened before the law was enacted, you are still eligible to petition for removal from the sex offender registry. Every aspect of eligibility must be taken into account, regardless of when the conviction was rendered. If you’re a former convict who has been plagued by being on the sex offenders list, then you may have an opportunity to have your name removed from the registry.

Discretionary Relief

We cannot stress enough the importance of a judge’s decision. Even if you manage to petition to be removed from the registry, that doesn’t entitle you to your wish. The decision is still left up to the reviewing trial judge, and if their decision comes back and disapproves your request, then you have no opportunity. It’s not a guarantee, but with the proper representation on your side, you can fight the charges and get your life back.

Contact A Criminal Lawyer Today!

If you believe you could qualify for removal from the sex crimes registry under the Romeo & Juliet law and your offense occurred in Central Florida or the Orlando area, contact Criminal Lawyer Patrick Grozinger today.

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