FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida. Being convicted of a crime comes with serious consequences that can impact your life long after you’ve served your jail sentence. According to Pacific Standard, every state keeps lists of individuals who have been convicted of sex offenses. These registries keep track of where convicted criminals live. Under Megan’s Law, lists of sex offenders must be readily available to the public. While the public supports the existence of these lists, there has been pressure to make information about all offenses and offenders public. 94% of the public support the existence of public sex offender registries. While these registries may make sense in the case of sex crimes and certain violent offenses, these registries may also sometimes include individuals who have been convicted of minor crimes. In some states, people who have been found guilty of small drug offenses have found themselves being lumped in with the sex offenders. This not only makes it difficult for the general public to use the registry wisely when making decisions about home purchases or rentals, but it also impacts the lives of individuals who have been charged with minor drug crimes.
In Florida, if you’ve been charged with certain felonies, you can be included on a registry. According to the Marshall Project, in Kansas, individuals found guilty of drug charges are included in the list of registered sex offenders. The public registry in the state includes certain drug crime convictions, lumping in drug offenses with sex crime offenses. Unfortunately, this data can sometimes be misused by third parties that keep track of sex offenders. Not all third-party data groups distinguish between drug charges and sex crime charges (nor do these aggregates necessarily expect drug crime charges to be included in these registries). Individuals who are searching the database may only see the person’s name and may not see the crime. Many assume that people listed in the registry have been charged with sex crimes. Other states have begun to include violent crimes in their registries.
Individuals may have to remain on the registry for as long as 15 years. They have to appear yearly before a judge and they need to inform the state any time they want to move. Individuals can also face jail time if they fail to report new vehicles.
The consequences of being on a registry can be serious. Being on the registry can impact relationships. The general community can find you when they search for criminals in the area. When applying for a job, employers can search the worker’s name against the registry. Many people listed in the registry claim that they simply cannot find work.
Police claim that the registries inform communities about homes where dangerous activity could be taking place. Yet, the people on these registries have served their time. Furthermore, researchers have found that children are more likely to be abducted or abused by individuals who are close to them—not strangers. It isn’t clear whether registries keep anyone safe—beyond creating a class of social outcasts.
If you are facing drug, theft charges, or probation offenses in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, consider reaching out to Michael D. Weinstein, P.A. today. Our criminal defense lawyers understand the immense challenges individuals face after they have been convicted of a crime. If you have been charged, you are innocent until you have been proven guilty. Let our criminal defense attorneys review your case and help you fight for your freedom and your reputation. Visit us at https://mdwlawfirm.com/ to learn more.