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Florida Sex Offenders Florida Sex Offenders The difference between a sex offender and a sexual predator. How to perform a Florida sex offender search. How to do a county search or a national search.
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Practical Tips to Help You Trace Florida Sex Offenders & Predators

What is the definition of a sex offender in Florida?  What is the difference between a sex offender and a sexual predator? Is there a sex offender near me? And how can I know if my family is safe?  This article will attempt to answer these questions while explaining how to access the sex offender registry information available to you.

Defining Sex Offenders

In Florida, the legal definition of a sex offender is applied to anyone who was convicted (or released) after October 1, 1993 of any one of the following three general categories of crimes:

  1. Any sex crime committed against a person 15 years old or younger, also known as “lewd or lascivious acts.”
  2. Rape
  3. Any sex crime committed against a person 16-17 years old, also known as “unlawful sex with minors.” (for further information, go to FDLE website)

It is important to mention that those who are defined as sex offenders are obligated to register with the Florida sex offender registry.

Defining Sex Predators

Sexual predators are a special class of sex offenders that have been specifically designated as 'predators' because of the nature of their crime. Predators must have been previously convicted of a sexually violent crime, such as:

  • Kidnapping
  • Sexual trafficking of minors
  • Sexual performance by a child
  • Lewd or lascivious offenses in the presence of a minor

In addition, sex predators must have been designated as such by a written order from the court; and, of course, all Florida sex predators must register on the same sex offender list as offenders.

How Can You Find Florida Sex Offenders and Predators?

So, by now you probably wonder how you can trace a sex offender in your area. The answer is a lot easier than you might have expected. Taking into account public notification requirement laws and the Internet, which makes information available to all, it has become more and more difficult for Florida sex offenders to conceal themselves from the public.

The FDLE Maintains a Sexual Offenders and Predators Search (https://offender.fdle.state.fl.us/offender/sops/floridaLaw.jsf). It has a powerful filtering engine allowing you to track offenders by their first or last name, city or county of residence, or even just by Zip code. In other words, if you want to find out whether registered offenders live in your area, you just leave all the search fields blank except the Zip code field, and it will return result in that particular code.

Using the National Sex Offender Registry

What if an offender from a nearby state has moved in next door and hasn’t registered in Florida yet? You can use the National Sex Offender Public Website powered by the United States Department of Justice to trace him or her by simply inserting the subject's first and last name. You can also insert a specific address and define a specific search area of 1, 2 or 3 mile around it.

A Single County Sex Offender Search

Some Florida counties also operate their own registries of sex offenders which cover their jurisdiction, and you can search these databases. These databases can usually be accessed through the local sheriff's website. A great example is the interactive map (https://gisweb.miamidade.gov/sexoffenders/) which enables you to conduct a Miami-Dade county sex offender search.  Inquiry can be done according to address, landmark, or even just an intersection.

Florida Sex Offender Statistics

According to the FDLE, In 2020, there were 7,655 rapes cases in Florida. Moreover, there were 24,162 registered sex offenders/predators in all of the state's counties. Miami-Dade County had the larger number of rapes reported to the authorities (776 cases). Orange County was second on the list (659 cases) and Broward County reached third place (592 cases).