Back in 2016, Feller Law, published an article discussing five (5) ways to remove your name from Florida’s Sex Offender Registry: Since then, we’ve been able to help sex offenders restore their lives by successfully requesting for removal. Our success has caused other law firms to copy the material from that article and write their own review. However, be warned, some of the information these firms are presenting is inaccurate.


 As anyone who is familiar with Florida’s sex offender registry knows, the barriers for removal are high. Even if an offender can thread the needle to meet the minimum requirements for removal, a judge or the Florida Department of Law Enforcement still needs to be convinced that removal is warranted. Just recently, we were able to persuade a judge that our client deserved removal from the registry according to Florida Romeo & Juliet exception. After being a registered sex offender for twenty-two (22) years, he was finally free to live a normal life. No more fear that his family would be the unfortunate target from would be vigilantes due to his status. New windows of opportunity for his career and employment opened. He could fully participate in the lives of his children. And no longer does he have a digital scarlet letter plastered to the entirety of his life.


 Although we’ve now been able to help many former registered sex offenders have their named removed from the   registry, the path to removal is narrow. Every success is a cause for celebration. Certainly, there are some people that   never deserve to have their name removed from the sex offender registry. Their sins are too great. However, as has   become apparent to this law firm, far too many people on Florida’s sex offender registry are guilty of nothing more   than a consensual mistake with their boyfriend/girlfriend at the time. Where the difference between what is lawful   and what is criminal, can be measured by a short period of time. That’s where the Romeo & Juliet exception for   removal from Florida’s sex offender registry comes in.



Florida Statute, § 943.04354, lays out the minimum requirements to request removal from Florida’s sex offender registry according to Romeo & Juliet. Let’s review those in detail:


  1. Romeo & Juliet is available only for specific convictions. In Florida, numerous criminal offenses can cause you to land on the sex offender registry. But removal from Florida sex offender registry according to Romeo & Juliet is limited only to a few certain offenses: (1) Lewd & Lascivious Battery, Molestation, Conduct, or Exhibition (consensual sexual acts, but where one party is too young according to the law); and 2. Child Pornography (which often covers offenses more commonly known as “sexting”). The offense is not required to have been committed in Florida. Romeo & Juliet is also an option for people whose offense was committed out-of-state. It’s important to note that some law firms promote that Romeo & Juliet is an option for non-consensual criminal offenses, such as sexual battery (more commonly known as rape). This is untrue. Only the specific above described, consensual, offenses meet the requirements of Romeo & Juliet.


  1. Romeo & Juliet is unavailable to offenders with specific prior convictions. If you have a qualifying conviction for the purposes of Romeo & Juliet, certain prior convictions could still exclude you from relief. Those offenses are: 1. Sexual Battery (more commonly know as rape); (1) Lewd & Lascivious Battery, Molestation, Conduct, or Exhibition (consensual sexual acts, but where one party is too young according to the law); and 2. Child Pornography (which often covers offenses more commonly known as “sexting”). What this means, is if you were convicted of Lewd & Lascivious Battery, which normally makes Romeo & Juliet an option, but had a prior conviction for that same offense or for Child Pornography, you are excluded from seeking removal according to Florida law. Like before, the prior conviction need not have been committed in Florida. A prior conviction from out-of-state will also remove Romeo & Juliet as an option. Again, some law firms promote that any prior conviction makes a person ineligible for Romeo & Juliet. This is untrue. Only specific prior convictions make an offender ineligible for relief.


  1. Romeo & Juliet is limited to only certain reasons for sex offender registration:
    1. Sexual offender registration is due ONLY to a Florida conviction a Lewd & Lascivious Offense or Child Pornography. According to Florida statute, there are four different ways that a person can be labelled as a sexual offender. If you are required to register as a Florida sexual offender for reasons other than a Florida conviction for a Lewd & Lascivious offense or Child Pornography, Romeo and Juliet is not an option. OR
    2. Removal from Out-of-State Sex Offender Registry for Qualifying Out-of-State Romeo & Juliet Convictions. If you were convicted of a Lewd & Lascivious offense or Child Pornography in a state other than Florida, which caused you to be placed on that state’s registry, Romeo & Juliet requires that you no longer be on that out-of-state registry before requesting removal. Depending on which state’s registry you were on, that could be as simple as the expiration of a certain period of years, or it may require some proactive action to seek removal. Written proof that out-of-state registration is not required is also necessary.


  1. The victim was between the ages of 13 and 17. This one is straight forward. If the “victim” was 18 or older, since the qualifying offenses for Romeo & Juliet are consensual in nature, there is no crime that would trigger registration. This is why as little as one (1) day can be the difference between a serious felony crime and a lifetime punishment or a life without penalty.


  1. The offender can be no more than four (4) years older than the victim. This is a strict limit in practice. If the age gap is four (4) years and one (1) day, an offender is ineligible for relief according to Romeo & Juliet. The four (4) year age gap also means that it’s not possible for an offender who is twenty-two (22) or older to seek removal from Florida’ sex offender registry via Romeo & Juliet. Although we believe this strict interpretation of four (4) years is wrong, offenders are cautioned that a request for removal may be denied if the strict interpretation is not followed.


  1. The qualifying offense does not conflict with Federal law. What this typically means is that the criminal offense that triggered registration was consensual in nature. As the specific offenses that are eligible for relief according to Romeo & Juliet are, by definition, consensual in nature, this is somewhat redundant to the first requirement for Romeo & Juliet.


Meeting all of the requirements to request removal pursuant to Romeo & Juliet is just half the battle to getting of Florida’s sex offender registry. The second, more difficult, is persuading a judge that an offender deserves to be removed. Meeting the requirements just makes a Romeo & Juliet removal an option. Removal is not automatic. Once Feller Law has determined an offender is eligible for Romeo & Juliet relief, our real work begins. We work to get to know our client’s life story in detail so we can present to the court all the many reasons why the judge should exercise their discretion to order removal. And if there are warts that may make a judge think twice, we work to counteract that negative information. If necessary, we’ll bring in character witnesses to help persuade the judge. We also write a clear and concise motion or petition seeking removal to lay the groundwork. All of this culminates in a high stake hearing before the court. If the court decides to deny a motion or petition for removal according to Romeo & Juliet, Florida statute does not allow a second chance. It’s one and done. This makes it critical that an offender who is eligible for relief under Florida’s Romeo & Juliet law, choose the right attorney.


  • RoseMarie Feller, Esq.

Feller Law, P.A.