Many people do not understand the difference between a sexual offender and a sexual predator, but there are several important distinctions that everyone should know. Sexual predator designations are harsher than sexual offender designations.

What is the difference between sexual offenders and sexual predators?

Florida Statutes define sexual offenders and sexual predators differently:

Sexual offenders

A sexual offender is someone who has been convicted of a sex offense involving a minor and was released on or after October 1, 1997. There are 23 offenses that will qualify someone as a sexual offender. Examples include:

Sexual predators

A sexual predator is someone who has been convicted of a first-degree felony sex crime or has been convicted of two second-degree felony sex crimes within a ten-year period. The crimes must have occurred after October 1993 for a sexual predator designation to apply.

Examples of first-degree felony sex crimes include:

  • Sexual battery against a minor
  • Sexual battery against an incapacitated person

An example of a second-degree felony sex crime includes:

  • Unlawful sexual activity with a minor

Who decides which designation defendants get?

While the law defines sexual offender and sexual predator designations, it is up to the court to decide each defendant’s label. For a defendant to be labeled as a sexual predator, the judge must issue a formal court order.

There are various factors that will influence the judge’s decision. Much depends on how violent the crime was, the age of the victim, and the defendant’s prior offenses.

What do sexual offender/predator designations mean for defendants?

While both designations require that the defendant submit to the Florida Sexual Offender/Predator Registry and follow a strict set of rules, the ramifications of having a sexual predator status are far more severe.

For starters, it is difficult for sexual offenders to ever remove themselves from the registry, but it can be done in some situations. However, this is not the case for sexual predators. Once the state has designated you as a predator, it will be a lifelong label.

Also, the public and law enforcement view predators more harshly.

Get a free consult with a Florida sex crime defense lawyer.

If you have been charged with a sex crime, it is essential to have a St. Petersburg defense lawyer represent you in court.

When our lawyers at Goldman Wetzel handle a sex crime case, we work to get the charges dropped or reduced, and build your case to represent you in court if necessary.

Call our office at 727-828-3900 and speak to a Florida sex crime defense lawyer about your case today for free.