Probation is a possible alternative for those who are found guilty of a sexual offense.
This offer is not granted to everyone. However, for those first-time offenders, those who committed less violent crimes and showed signs of remorse are usually good candidates to motivate the prosecutor to offer probation.
Florida Law restrictions
According to Florida law, the following probation conditions might be imposed for sex offenders. These rules may change depending on the details of the case:
- Designation as Sexual Offender. When put on probation, the defendant will be assigned to a probation officer who will enforce the rules mentioned below and keep a close eye to make sure the offender is not violating them.
- Reporting to the Probation Officer Requirement. The defendant must report as required to their assigned officer. Failure to appear when scheduled will be directly reported and punished.
- Designation as a “Sexually Violent Offense”. The defendant needs to report their enrollment status whenever required.
- Submit to Psychological or Mental Health Assessment. The defendant will submit himself/herself to a psychological/mental health assessment and follow through with any treatment recommended by the evaluator.
- Curfew. The defendant has a mandatory curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
- No contact with children. Living at addresses within 1,000 feet of a place where children gather is not allowed. Additionally, the defendant must not have contact with children under the age of 18 and must not work at any school, daycare center, park, playground, pet store, library, zoo, or another place where children regularly congregate.
- Sex Offender Treatment Program. Within thirty days after release from incarceration or sentencing, the defendant must enroll and participate in the treatment program until discharged by the therapist.
- No Contact with the Victim. The defendant must not have any contact with the victim, directly or indirectly, including through a third person, for the duration of the sentence imposed.
- No Pornography. Pornographic or sexually stimulating visual or auditory materials, including telephones, electronic media, computer programs, or computer services, are completely forbidden to the defendant.
- No Internet Access. Internet access is prohibited until the defendant completes a risk assessment and approves and implements a safety plan for accessing the Internet or other computer service.
- Provide DNA Sample. The defendant must provide a blood or other approved biological specimen to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to be registered with the DNA data bank.
- Restitution for Psychological Counseling. The defendant must provide the victim with all necessary medical and related professional services relating to physical, psychiatric, and psychological care.
- Submit to Polygraph Exams, Random Drug Testing, and Electronic Monitoring. The defendant must participate at least annually in polygraph examinations to obtain information necessary for risk management.
- Driving Log and Travel Restrictions. A defendant’s probation officer must approve these.
- No Post Office Box. The use of a PO Box is forbidden unless the probation officer agrees with it.
- Submit to HIV Testing. The defendant must submit to an HIV test at his/her expense.
- Pay any Court Fees, Fines, or Expenses. An amount set by the court must be paid by the defendant under these criteria.
- Submit to Random Drug Testing. The probation officer might request random testing for the presence of drugs.
- Perform Community Service. The defendant must perform 100 hours of community service to be completed within the first 5 years of supervision at a minimum rate of eight hours per month.
The evaluation by the defendant and the defendant’s lawyer of these conditions is essential to consider probation, as all of the statutes are mandatory and the violation of one of them might lead to incarceration. Consider that the probation officers are very strict with the rules and one-third of those on probation fail to complete their programs without violations.
If you find yourself facing any criminal or family law charges, you need a professional attorney on your side. Russell Spatz, of the Spatz Law Firm, PL, has decades of experience handling serious criminal and family law cases. Contact him at 305-442-0200 to discuss your case.