On January 1, 1999 the Florida legislature shocked people by enacting the Jimmy Ryce Act. The Act defined people as "sexually violent predators" and allowed for people to be involuntarily and indefinitely civilly committed based off an abnormality that needed to be treated. The crux in this Act, allowed for the person to finish their jail time, and then be involuntarily committed into treatment. The Act applied only to those who have been convicted of a sexually violent crime, a felony offense. However, recent changes to this Act have occurred.
In July 2014, the State Attorney's Office has started to review every person on whether or not they have been convicted of a sexually violent offense. Even people who are charged with misdemeanors, which have nothing to do with the basis of this Act, are being looked at for possible civil commitment. The State is actively pursuing people for possible civil commitment in county court per Florida statute 394.9125. Due to the recent changes, the Jimmy Ryce Act has expanded to allow the State to involuntarily commit someone for being arrested if they have a sexually violent act in their past.
Due to these recent changes, any person who has a sexually violent offense could possibly get in trouble for a misdemeanor offense that is unrelated to any sexual act, and be civilly committed. The new Act allows for State Attorneys in county court to place people in possible involuntary civil commitment if they pick up a new charge, merely based on their past offense.
If you, or anyone you know has a sexual offense and have been charged with any new crime, immediately call our office number at (813) 281-2897. Please contact the office of Taracks & Associates for a free consultation with regards to these issues.