Sex Offender vs Sex Predator | Florida Laws & Definitions

When it comes to sex crimes in Florida, many people assume that sex offender and sex predator are interchengable terms. However, these designations are not synonymous and, in fact, they have important distinctions. As a result, it is important to understand what is the difference between sex offenders and predators in Florida. 

In Florida, the difference between a sex offender and a predator lies in the severity of the crime and prior sex offenses. Sex predators are repeated offenders or people convicted of first-degree felonies, while a sex offender is a person convicted of certain sex crimes against a minor and was released on or after October 1, 1997.  

Given that these terms can be easily confused, in the following sections, you will find more information about the difference between being designated as a sexual predator or sexual offender. If you have questions about a sex offense, you should consult a sex crime attorney

Difference Between Sex Offender and Predator in Florida

In Florida, sex offender and sex predator are terms that identify people who committed a sex crime. On the surface, these labels may look the same but, in reality, there are some important distinctions that you need to be aware of. 

Although there is not an exact definition, a sexual offender is a designation for a person that was convicted of certain sex offenses in Florida or other jurisdictions and was released from his sanction on or after October 1, 1997. 

Some of the sex crimes that qualify as a sexual offender include, but are not limited to: 

On the other hand, a sexual predator is a designation that reflects a potential risk for others in the community. In other words, predators are deemed to be a high risk to society. According to Florida’s Sexual Predators Act, sex predators include repeated sexual offenders, individuals that prey on children or sex offenders who use physical violence

In Florida, sex predators are people who were convicted of a first-degree felony sex crime or who have one or more second-degree felony convictions within a period of 10 years. Some of the sex crimes that could lead to a sex predator designation include but are not limited to:

  • Sexual battery against a minor or incapacited person
  • Kidnapping a minor and committing a sexual offense
  • Selling or buying minors for sexually explicit conduct

Sex Offender and Sex Predator Restrictions in Florida

If you are convicted of a sex crime in Florida, your sentence varies depending on the severity of the offense. Additionally, when a person is found guilty of certain sexual offenses, he or she would also be required to record their information on the sexual registry. 

Although it is difficult to do, after 25 years some sex offenders may be eligible to remove their names from the registry. However, this option is not available for sex predators since they have a lifelong status in this database. 

These designations could also carry other restrictions and obligations such as: 

  • Being unable to live close to places where children congregate (parks, schools, etc). 
  • Informing the sheriff’s office of any changes in the vehicles owned. 
  • Having a driver’s license that identifies you as a sexual offender or predator. 
  • Having to pay the cost of your supervision. 
  • Informing the sheriff’s office about your most current address. 

Additionally, if you are placed under probation, you will need to follow the specific conditions established by the court.  

Contact a Sex Crimes Attorney in Pinellas County

Being accused of a sex crime in Florida can result in long-lasting consequences that will impact your life. For that reason, if you have been charged with a sex crime, you should seek legal advice. 

If you were arrested or are facing a sex crime accusation, our Pinellas County criminal lawyers may be able to help. Contact us today or call us at (727) 828-3900 to schedule a free consultation.