The FDLE has responded to our inquiry from May as to (a) what happens in emergency situations or when a registration office is not open, and (b) what is the definition of the term ‘day’, as it relates to the revision in the statute that requires IN PERSON notification of a change in permanent, temporary or transient residence.
The response, in its entirety, is copied and pasted in its entirety below:
Dear Ms. Colletta,
FDLE does not have the authority to compel any law enforcement or government agency regarding their hours of operation. However, like FDLE, such entities are compelled by the order of Florida Statutes and law to fulfill the requirements of the law.
A reading of the plain language of the s.943.0435 and s. 775.21 does not provide specific exemptions to the registration requirements contained within the statutory language. In response to your inquiry regarding hypothetical events, FDLE is not able to provide legal advice. However, in the event of natural disasters and other unforeseen emergencies, registrants may contact the local sheriff’s office to give notice of the situation, request guidance, and/or inform of their travel, evacuation, location plans. If a registrant is unable to establish communication with their local sheriff’s office they may contact the FDLE registry 24-7 for assistance in making contact and/or noting their emergency situation and intended location/travel status etc.
In response to your last inquiry regarding the word “days”, although the statutes contain no definition of the term “day”, in those instances where the Legislature has used words of common usage, such words should be construed in their plain and ordinary sense. Additionally, the statute defines “permanent residence”, “temporary residence” and “transient residence” as follows:
“Permanent residence” means a place where the person abides, lodges, or resides for 3 or more consecutive days.
“Temporary residence” means a place where the person abides, lodges, or resides, including, but not limited to, vacation, business, or personal travel destinations in or out of this state, for a period of 3 or more days in the aggregate during any calendar year and which is not the person’s permanent address or, for a person whose permanent residence is not in this state, a place where the person is employed, practices a vocation, or is enrolled as a student for any period of time in this state.
“Transient residence” means a county where a person lives, remains, or is located for a period of 3 or more days in the aggregate during a calendar year and which is not the person’s permanent or temporary address. The term includes, but is not limited to, a place where the person sleeps or seeks shelter and a location that has no specific street address.
Registrants are encouraged to discuss any questions with an attorney or legal representation.
Missing Persons & Offender Registration
Florida Department of Law Enforcement
PO Box 1489
Tallahassee, FL 32302-1489
PLEASE NOTE: Florida has a very broad public records law. Most written communications to or from state officials regarding state business are considered to be public records and will be made available to the public and the media upon request. Your e-mail messages may, therefore, be subject to public disclosure.
So the guidance from the FDLE is:
(a) in the event of an emergency, call your county Sheriff’s office – if you can’t reach them, call the FDLE, which is open 24/7.
(b) The common definition of “day”, according to Webster‘s dictionary is “the mean solar day of 24 hours beginning at midnight”
While the guidance is not completely clarifying as to what “day” is considered and they qualify it by suggesting we discuss it with our attorney or legal representative. Based on what they write, and a “day comprising of a 24 hour period beginning at midnight”, a period of less than 24 hours (ie: you arrive on Friday at 6AM or you depart on Sunday at 11PM) would suggest you have not been at the “residence” for that “day” if you were not there for the full 24 hours comprising that day.
As a side note: if you call the sheriff’s office or FDLE because you cannot report IN PERSON in the event of an emergency, make sure you keep a log of your call through your telephone carrier to cover your butt.