It’s the day before Thanksgiving. In years past I’d be packing right now, but this year and for the past 5 years or so, I’m not. Here’s why…

Since I first started coming home from University, the Thanksgiving tradition always involved travel somewhere. It was such a joy seeing family and being together. But since Florida changed it’s reporting requirements from 5 days to 3, all the checking out and checking in, confusion over the requirements, stress of in person reporting…. it’s just become too much of a pain in the ass!

Setting aside the in person trip you need to make to the Sheriffs office or the Driver’s license office (or both?!?!), there’s the “vehicles owned” crap. If I stay someplace for 3 or more consecutive days and that becomes my “permanent residence”, under 775.21(2)(k) (“Permanent residence” means a place where the person abides, lodges, or resides for 3 or more consecutive days) do I need to register all the vehicles that are there also? 775.21(2)(p) says I’m supposed to register “any motor vehicle as defined in s. 320.01, which is registered, co-registered, leased, titled, or rented by a person or persons residing at a sexual predator’s or sexual offender’s permanent residence for 5 or more consecutive days.” The people I’d be visiting at my new “permanent residence” live there more than 5 days, so should I register their cars? I don’t know.

Then how am I supposed to accomplish that? The law says, “A sexual offender shall report in person to the sheriff’s office within 48 hours after any change in vehicles owned to report those vehicle information changes.” But it’s Thanksgiving! The registration office will be closed Thursday – Sunday. I can’t even call up my hosts and ask them for the year, make, model, VIN and tag number of all their cars to report it before I depart, because the law says within 48 hours after.

Wait… Did I have to register the address I’ll be visiting before or after?!?! The Statute says “[a] sexual offender who intends to establish a permanent, temporary, or transient residence in another state or jurisdiction other than the State of Florida shall report in person to the sheriff of the county of current residence within 48 hours before the date he or she intends to leave this state to establish residence in another state or jurisdiction…” or… “within 48 hours after any change in the offender’s permanent, temporary, or transient residence… the offender shall report in person to a driver license office.” OK… so it’s within 48 hours BEFORE the change to the Sheriff’s office if outside the state and 48 hours AFTER the change to the driver’s license if within the state?!?! I guess.

I’m confused… so if I can’t do the change within 48 hours AFTER because the driver’s license office will be closed the entire time I’ll be there for Thanksgiving, am I supposed to go in on Monday to get a new driver’s license reporting the address of the place I just got back from? That’s kind of stupid. Then do I go to the Sheriff’s office to report the cars? Can I switch my address back during the same visit? This is all so confusing! Not only to me, but to the people I asked in the registration office in both my County and the County I want to visit, they don’t know either.

My wife has been bugging us to spend the holidays with family for years, but how can I risk a third degree felony for getting one of these steps wrong? Even if I wanted to take the chance, the registration and driver’s license offices are closed!

F*** it! I’m staying home for the holidays.

Happy Thanksgiving from Florida!


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