In Tallahassee, Terry Gorby was classified as a sex offender because he had consensual sex with his 14-year-old girlfriend. The mother of the victim found out and pressed charges against Gorby who was found guilty of lewd and lascivious battery on a minor.
Florida’s Romeo and Juliet laws were created in 2007 to address concerns about high school-aged youth, consensually having sex with someone older than the age of consent, and being labeled sexual offenders as a result. Florida’s age of consent is 18 years old.
Romeo and Juliet's laws are intended to protect young sexual offenders who were relatively close in age to the victim they had consensual sex with, from having to register as sex offenders.
Being labeled a sex offender can have a very negative impact on your life. You can be restricted from living in certain areas, not be able to participate in some of your own children’s school functions, and not be able to have certain occupations because of your status.
Many people who were convicted of statutory sex crimes do not realize that under Florida law 943.04354 a person, who was convicted prior to this law, shall now be considered for removal from the sex offender registry.
Florida statutory rape laws are violated when a person has consensual sexual intercourse with an individual under 18 years old. Now, there is a close in age exemption that allows minors who are at least 16 years old engage in consensual sex with a partner who is no older than 23.
In order for someone to qualify for removal of their status under “Romeo and Juliet”:
- The victim had to have been at least 14 years old at the time of sexual encounters
- The offender cannot be more than 4 years older than the victim
- The sex had to be consensual
- The offender must not have any additional sex offense convictions after the original offense
The ultimate goal of the Romeo and Juliet laws are to distinguish between dangerous predators and people who were probably just in love and violated the law. This law does not make it legal to have sex with someone who is under the legal consensual age but it does allow them to not have the sex offender stigma attached to them for the remainder of their lives.
The punishments before these laws were too cruel for people who consensually decided to have sex, regardless of their age difference. Many were young people who were in relationships and as a result of them having sex, they got convicted of serious crimes.
Attorney for Romeo and Juliet Laws in Broward County
Contact The Hoffman Firm at (305) 928-1669 if you believe you could qualify for removal from the sex crimes registry in Florida. Your first consultation is always free, so contact us today so we can start working on your case as soon as possible.