What's the Romeo and Juliet law?

It is a crime to have sex with a minor, but there are cases where age and circumstance of the crime that can keep someone from having to register as an offender for life.

The rules on that are contained in what's called the Romeo and Juliet law.

The victim is at least 14 years old, the sex was consensual and the suspect are four years or less apart in age, the person charged will not be labeled a sexual offender.

Theresa Simak of the State Attorney's Office says the Legislature found there were a lot of people on the sex offender registry that probably pose no danger to society.

"They really aren't sex offender the way the Legislature intended that registry to be. You know, they are high school kids," Simak said.

When the Romeo and Juliet Law went into effect in 2011, at least 23 offenders in Duval County were able to get off the registry. Most had been charged with a lewd or lascivious act.

But not all cases result in removal from the registry. It depends on several factors, like:

Defendant's criminal history

Situation appeared more coercive than consensual

Offender provided drugs or alcohol to the victim

There were prior warning by parents or others to stay away from the victim

Defendant had multiple charged and uncharged relationships with minors

Offender "targeted" the under-age victim on Web or in a chat room

The offender was in a position of authority over the victim

Decisions are made case-by-case, and a judge can decide if this law does not apply.