Romeo & Juliet Law: Was Romeo a Sex Offender?
In an effort to protect the public from sexual predators and offenders, the State of Florida has enacted some of the strictest sex offender laws in the country. If you are convicted of being a sexual offender in the state, you are required to be on the state registry for the rest of your life.
A person that is listed on the sex offender registry in Florida must remain in contact with the County Sheriff’s office at all times. If they leave the county for more than two days, they must let the police know where they are and how to reach them. People on the list must always keep their information and photograph updated. Offenders may also be prohibited from living in specific areas, going to public functions, and participating is certain social events.
What About Teens That Follow Their Hearts And Not Their Heads
With every law there is usually an exception. This also applies to the sex offender registry in Florida. Known as the Romeo and Juliet Law, this exception to the rules helps young people who have been convicted of sex crimes under the strict guidelines of Florida’s law can have their name removed from the registry and no longer be required to stay registered as an offender. According to the lawyers at Katz & Phillips, a Florida law firm, the rules regarding the Romeo and Juliet law are very cut and dry.
The Romeo and Juliet Law has the following guidelines:
• The sexual act must not have taken place with someone under the age of 14.
• The sexual act must have been consensual.
• The offender must not have been more than four years older than the other person at the time the act was committed.
• The offender must not have any additional sexual based convictions.
If all of these guidelines apply, the offender can petition the Court to have their name removed from the database after a specific period of time.
The Romeo and Juliet Law was designed to help teens that are convicted of a sex crime when they were only following their heart. For example, an 18 year old boy has consensual sex with his 16 year old girlfriend. Under the current law, he is having sex with a minor and is breaking the law. However, in reality, it was just young love. Under the current way the law is written, this boy will be seen as a sexual offender for the rest of his life.
If a person convicted for a sex crime does meet these qualifications, they should seek the services of a sexual offender defense attorney and apply for relief under the Romeo and Juliet Law. This type of action could change their entire future and allow them to move on with their life, free from the restraints of being considered a sexual offender.
Young love has many different benefits and drawbacks. It is an experience that we each must have to move on into adulthood. It is not right to punish someone for the rest of their life if they actually meet the guidelines of the Romeo and Juliet Law and are not a threat to society.
As a former foster mother of teenage girls, Melanie Fleury knows that not every act is as black and white as it may seem. If you are being charged with a sex crime unjustly, the first step is to find an experienced lawyer like Katz & Phillips. An experienced lawyer can determine if there are any defenses that can be presented for your case and help you to be treated fairly in a court of law.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pilottheatre/4565543655/
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