Being convicted of a sex crime has an immediate and profound impact on all aspects of your life. This includes potential employment, housing applications, reputations and relationships with family.
It is imperative that you contact an experienced attorney in the Texas area if you have been arrested for a sex crime. A skilled lawyer will be able to support you through every step of the criminal procedure.
A sex offense conviction can result in mandatory and automatic registration to the sex offender registry as well as a long-term prison sentence. Commonly, a registered sex offender will remain on the database for 10 years or life.
Being entered into the sex offender registration comes with a large number of restrictions and prohibitions that must be followed in order to remain out of jail.
The life of a registered sex offender is a difficult one. Convictions can both limit freedoms and disrupt relationships. If you hire a sex offender attorney, you may be able to avoid charges.
Contact The Love DuCote Law Firm on 832-843-1691 and find out how we can help with your case.
What Is The Sex Offender Registry?
The sex offender registry was designed to protect the community from certain individuals that had committed crimes. This database is a list of those convicted of a crime that was sexual in nature. The full list is regularly updated and available online for the public to view. In Texas, the Department of Public Safety ensures the register is updated.
Who Must Sign The Sex Offender Registry?
Under the Texas Penal Code, anyone who has been convicted of the following crimes must be included on the registry to protect the public.
- False imprisonment.
- Sexual battery or aggravated sexual assault (this includes date rape, spousal rape and statutory rape).
- Lewd offenses such as public indecent exposure.
- Child prostitution.
- Child molestation.
- Child pornography.
- Unlawful sexual activity with a minor (under the age of 17).
What Is A Sexual Predator?
A sexual predator is someone convicted of a sex crime under the Texas Penal Code that was violent in nature. This label is often determined and given by the courts during the time of conviction.
What Is Included In The Sex Offender Registration?
A person can be made to sign the sex offender registry if they have been convicted for almost any sexual offense. This includes sex crimes such as indecent exposure, sexual assault, possession of child pornography, and indecency with a child.
Even though each case is complex and individual, most courts order a mandatory 10 years of registration on the sex offenders database.
Under the regulations for registered sex offenders, they must regularly report to their probation officer within their local law enforcement agency. Offenders convicted of sex crimes must inform their relevant law enforcement officials of any changes in their home arrangements, new employment, or new education opportunities.
The physical description of the sex offender must also be kept on file, including their height, eye color, and weight. This information is vital, so a clear understanding of their physical description is known to the local law enforcement agency if any further accusations are made.
Any failure to abide by these regulations can result in the revocation of a sex offender’s parole status.
What Are The Sex Offender Laws In Texas?
The Texas Criminal sexual conduct orders that a convicted sex offender must register with their local law enforcement agency within a week of arriving in a county or city. Additionally, the law mandates that the offender periodically reports to the authorities to confirm the registration information is correct and regularly updated. If an offender does not comply with these registration requirements, they can be liable for a subsequent conviction.
What Sex Offenders Can Do
Even with these restrictions, registered sex offenders can experience some freedom. This is far greater and much more significant compared to being incarcerated.
For example, sex offenders can
- Attend training.
- Work in steady employment.
- Maintain relationships with friends and family.
- Continue to pursue higher education.
Sex offenders may feel secluded and judged by their community and are encouraged to seek help from therapists and doctors. They are encouraged to enjoy their freedom whilst abiding by the regulations, as opposed to being incarcerated.
What Sex Offenders Cannot Do
The full list of activities that are prohibited for registered sex offenders is extensive and comprehensive. Sex offender registration means that a person has been deemed a danger to others and must have some regulations to their lifestyle to prevent causing further harm to others. Some of the things registered sex offenders aren’t permitted to do include:
- Change their address or employment without informing their probation officer.
- Possession of pornography and certain sexual material.
- Live or work near/ in designated child safety zones.
- Communicate with victims.
- Communicate with any minor under the age of 17.
Sex offenders are subject to the conditions covered by many other crimes that lead to probation supervision. This mostly includes the likes of not using drugs or alcohol whilst on probation.
Additionally, they cannot leave the country and must report any significant life changes to their local law enforcement agency.
A registered sex offender must also uphold a standard of living considered appropriate by the court. This includes steady employment, a suitable housing situation, and consistent enrolment within a therapy program. These steps show the court that the registered sex offender is actively taking steps to improve.
The Next Steps For Sex Offenders Who Have Just Registered
Once the initial registration form is submitted to the local law enforcement agency, registered sex offenders have an additional week to gather proof that they provided a real identity and their true residential address.
If the person convicted of a sex offense does not return these two things to the local law enforcement agency within a week, they may be charged additionally with failure to register as a sex offender – even if they compliantly attended the initial report.
How Is The Obligation To Register As An Offender Determined?
The necessity for registration is determined by a combination of Texas state and federal laws. These state that anybody who has a reportable sexual crime conviction must register as they are required to by law.
This also means that anyone who has registration stipulated by their parole or probation requirements must also register.
Things become less clear when an individual has a conviction that occurred outside the state of Texas. However, at this point, it is up to the Texas Department of Public Safety to determine the outcome.
If you are an offender, you must always be forthcoming about this fact. If not, you risk further punishment and ignorance will not be taken as a valid excuse.
What Information Do I Have To Provide When Signing The Sex Offender Registration?
The state of Texas ensures that all sex offenders leaving prison must provide the following information. This is so the local law enforcement agency has the correct information to monitor any sex offenders within the local area.
- Date of birth.
- Social security number.
- Residential address.
- Tattoos, scars or identifiable marks.
- Hair and eye color.
- Finger and palm prints.
- Address of employment.
- Professional license information.
- Vehicle details.
- Phone numbers associated with the convicted.
- All social media details, including email.
- Conviction information.
- Passport details.
- Immigration status and documentation.
This list may seem long and extensive, but it is the conditions of probation that grant some freedom to those registered as sex offenders. The information included above must be given to a parole officer under sex offender registration laws.
If there are any changes to any of this information, it must be updated as soon as possible. Otherwise, you could be at risk of breaching your registration requirements. For example, if a sex offender moves home, they must update their driver’s license within 48 hours.
How To Handle Changes Of Circumstance As A Registered Sex Offender
Once a sex offender has submitted the previous list of information to law enforcement, they are still free to change their circumstances – as long as this does not impact any of their restrictions, which we’ll detail further down the page.
If a convicted sex offender changes their legal name, their residence, their employment, or any of the other characteristics listed above, they must immediately report the change to law enforcement.
Sex Offenders Must Regularly Report To Their Local Law Enforcement Agency
All sex offenders must report to their local law enforcement agency at least once per year. However, depending on the nature of their crimes, they may have to report more often.
The regularity with which a sex offender must report to their local law enforcement agency depends on the severity of their crimes.
Somebody who has been convicted of violent sexual intercourse crimes two or more times will need to report to law enforcement every 90 days. If a person is civilly committed due to their crimes, they may have to report once per month.
How Often Do You Have To Register As A Sex Offender?
To ensure the maintenance of sexual offense records is kept up to date, sex offenders must sign the databases regularly, depending upon the seriousness of the sex offense. Sex offenders must sign the registry either twice a year or four times a year. Sexual predators or juvenile sex offenders must sign the registry four times a year.
What Happens If I Don’t Sign The Sex Offender Registration?
If you have been required by the sex offender registration law to sign the database and fail to do so, you can be charged with a further felony. Whilst being a sex offender, registration can be difficult to find stable employment and housing; it is far greater compared to incarceration.
How Long Must I Remain On The Sex Offender Registration?
If you have been convicted of sex offenses, it is likely you will need to remain on the sex offender registration for between 10 years or the rest of your life, depending upon the offense.
However, there are conditions that allow you to be removed after a certain amount of time, but this can only be agreed upon by a judge and parole officer.
People convicted of the following crimes must register for life
- Indecency with a child.
- Sexual assault.
- Continuous sexual abuse of a child.
- Aggravated sexual assault.
- Possession or promotion of sexual material of a minor (under 18).
- Sexual performance by a child.
- Human trafficking including prostitution.
- Child trafficking leading to a sex crime.
- Continuous human or child trafficking.
- Burglary to commit a sex crime.
- Aggravated kidnapping with the intent to commit a sexual crime.
- Possession or promotion of child pornography.
- Engaging in child prostitution.
The following crimes can include a penalty of lifetime registration if additional convictions exist:
- Indecent exposure, which involved a minor.
- Unlawful restraint or kidnap of a minor (child under the age of 17).
The offenses listed below require registration of ten years
- A first-time offense of indecent exposure with a minor.
- A first-time offense of unlawful restraint or kidnap of a minor.
- A second-time offense of indecent exposure to an adult or bestiality.
- Cases of statutory rape of a minor under 17.
- Soliciting a minor online.
- The attempt to commit a sex crime that requires registration.
The Two Different Durations Of Sex Offender Registration
If a person is convicted of a sex crime that requires registration, the duration of this registration will fall into one of two categories.
We will explore the categories, as well as the sex offenses they correspond with, in the next two sections.
10-Year Sex Offender Status
Certain sex offenders will be required to register for a period of 10 years.
A 10-year spell on the sex offender registry is usually reserved for those who have committed sex offenses that do not involve sexual contact with another person. Usually, this means sex crimes such as indecent exposure or online solicitation.
However, there is a complication with when this time on the sex offender registry begins. Under sex offender registration law, it only begins once the sex offender completes their sentence.
That means that if a sex offender receives a deferred adjudication, they will need to be on the sex offender registry for the period of this deferment, during the sentence itself, and for the following ten years once the sentence has been served.
Lifetime Registration As A Sex Offender
Sex offenses that include physical contact are considered the most serious offenses, and these will result in a lifetime registration as a sex offender.
The offense does not have to be sexually violent in order to trigger a lifetime sentence under the sex offender registration act. Sexual offenders guilty of charges such as statutory rape will also become lifetime registered sex offenders.
How Can I Get My Name Removed From The Sex Offender Registration?
Individuals who have committed a sexual offense may have to have lifetime registration under sex offender registration laws.
However, if a registered sex offender has been off probation or supervision for over 25 years committing no further offenses, they can request a petition to be removed from the register if they were not convicted of committing one of the following sexual offenses.
- Aggravated kidnapping.
- False imprisonment.
- Lewd battery to a victim under the age of 12.
- Molestation of a victim under 12.
- Sexual assault whereby the evidence found the offense included the use of force, coercion, or unclothed genitals.
- Sexual assault on an elderly or disabled victim.
If eligible, the sex offender can petition their local law enforcement agency to be removed from the register. However, each case is individual, and it would be the decision of the court or parole officer.
Where Can The Public Get Information About A Sex Offender?
As well as being registered on a state level, a person who was convicted for a sex offense will also have their data and personal details inputted into the national sex offender’s registry. The US Department of Justice created a National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) as the first place to go for any public concerns regarding a sex offender. It offers access to the public registry for all states within the US.
The public can search for a specific jurisdiction or a nationwide search that can query all registries.
The search can be made by name, zip code, and in some cases, can provide the address or city that the sex offender lives in.
What Information Can The Public Access About A Sex Offender?
By being a registered sex offender, certain information is immediately made publicly available in order to protect the wider public. The information available will vary as a result of the sex crimes but typically involve –
- Name and any other aliases.
- Current address.
- The sexual offenses.
- A Photograph.
Furthermore, the website could provide a physical description, such as height and weight. Additional information, such as date of birth and information about the offenses, including the statutes violated and dates of offenses.
Can A Sex Offender Live With Their Family In Texas?
A convicted sex offender can live with family members in the state of Texas. However, this does not include any children – related or not. A sex offender convicted for a crime involving minors will have to seek alternative living arrangements, as living with their family members violates the state’s law against living with minors.
Sex Offenders Who Move To Texas
Offenders convicted of criminal sexual conduct who are required to register as sex offenders in states other than Texas are required to report to local law enforcement once they move to the state, under both local and federal law.
Once again, it is a requirement that these sex offenders report to local law enforcement officials and disclose their sex offender information within a week of arriving in Texas.
Failure to report to local law enforcement if a sex offender moves to Texas will once again be punishable with a subsequent conviction under the sex offender registration act.
What Types Of Sex Offenders Exist In Texas?
A sex offender in Texas is classified by their risk to the public and society. This classification is decided by the judicial branch, the Texas Youth Commission, and The Department Of Criminal Justice to determine the particular risk level for each offender as advised by the Risk Assessment Review Committee.
The committee evaluates the offenders’ previous criminal histories to predict the likelihood of further offenses or the danger posed to the local community to deliberate the risk level.
This Risk Assessment Review Committee’s evaluations are detailed below. The court can determine the level of risk of a sex offender in Texas.
The risk levels of sex offenders include:
- Level one – A sex offender within this classification is a low-risk offender that poses the least potential threat to public safety. This means that the court believes the risk of this sex offender committing a further sexual offense is significantly low.
- Level two – A sex offender of this classification is deemed to pose a moderate threat to their local community with a reasonable chance of subsequent conviction.
- Level three – A sex offender within this classification is considered to pose the highest risk to their community. These offenders may engage in further unlawful sexual acts or have previous convictions of serious sex crimes. Level three offenders are usually sexually violent predators with crimes involving minors.
- Civil commitment – This level of classification provides support for the offender to prevent re-offending. Those who commit a sexually violent offense as a result of a behavioral problem or abnormality fall into this category. The support provided can include outpatient treatment and a law enforcement agency to monitor their progress.
Sex Offenders May Be Civilly Committed
As well as the three levels of risk detailed above, there is an additional category for those who have committed an egregious sexually violent offense and are considered sexually violent predators.
These people are often civilly committed to prevent them from being a risk to the public. Usually, this will be paired with sex offender treatment as an attempt to bring them to a point where they do not pose an unacceptable level of danger by inhabiting the outside world.
How Soon After Conviction Does Sex Offender Registration Have To Occur?
Sex offender registration laws state that offenders convicted of a sex crime must register as a sex offender within a week of their conviction.
Failure to do so can lead to a subsequent conviction. This will carry additional penalties to the first conviction.
Do Sex Offenders Have To Notify Neighbors In Texas?
An offender residing, working, or being educated in Texas does not have to inform neighbors of their sex offender status. However, they must inform the local law enforcement agency within a week of arriving in a county or city. After the initial registration, an offender must periodically report to the local authority to verify the registration information and update when needed.
An offender must also inform additional authorities of their sex offender status within a week of commending employment or enrolling in a public or private higher education institution. They must also inform authorities if they terminate employment or enrolment in a public or private higher education institution. In these circumstances, they must inform the campus security or campus police department and the offender’s primary registration authority.
The local community is notified of a sex offender in their community in the following ways.
The Texas Department of Public Safety has the ability to release details of sex offenders’ information that is held by government agencies where necessary.
The Department of Public Safety Sex Offender Database: This information about sex offenders is maintained by The Texas Department of Public Safety. This information can be obtained by anyone at any time via the Texas Department of Public Safety Website.
A system called the postcard notification is also used to notify the local community when a sex offender is soon to be released from prison. The Department of Public Safety receives the notification of the release and issues a postcard to the community where the sex offender is intending to reside. The postcard is mailed or delivered to all residents living within a one-mile radius.
Via news publication is also another way in which the public finds out about an offender’s release. Local authorities may publish the name of a sex offender in the newspaper where the offender is intending to reside.
Finally, local law enforcement may provide local schools in the area with a notification of such intentions to relocate.
Do Sex Offenders In Texas Have To Put A Sign In Their Yard?
Offenders in Texas are not required to put a sign up in their yard to show they are sexual offenders. However, they do face some restrictions to housing already, such as staying certain distances from schools, daycares, playgrounds, and parks. They may also be excluded from attending local community events that involve children.
How Close Can A Sex Offender Reside To A School In The State Of Texas?
Texas child safety laws allow the local authorities to enforce residency restrictions for convicted sex offenders, such as a child safety zone. This would restrict the presence of certain sex offenders and other individuals from places where children frequent. These residency restrictions can be put in place for offenders on parole or under probation.
If an offender violates a child safety zone, they can have their probation or parole revoked. Likewise, this restriction ceases to be effective once the offender is no longer under parole or probation.
In addition, offenders cannot live on campus for higher education unless they are assigned a low-risk level or the higher education institute permits the offender to live on the campus.
Types Of Sex Offenses In Texas
The Texas Penal Code includes various crimes of a sexual nature that can result in fines, probation, and jail time. These offenses include:
Continuous Sexual Abuse Of Young Children
A person may be found guilty of this sex offense if they commit two or more sexually abusive acts against a minor within 30 days. The offender must also be over 17 years of age, and the victim’s age must be below 14 at the time of the sex offense. It is not a defense to claim the offender wasn’t aware of the victims’ age.
Sexual abuse includes:
- Sexual assault.
- Aggravated sexual assault.
- Sexual acts by a child.
- Aggravated kidnapping.
- Indecency with a child.
These sexual offenses are a first-degree felony in Texas. Offenders will remain in prison for between 25-99 years.
Sex offenders found guilty of public lewdness in Texas will have engaged in certain sexual offenses in a public space, where the act could cause alarm or cause offense to another person. These acts are:
- Sexual intercourse.
- Sexual contact.
In Texas, this sex offense results in a class A misdemeanor, meaning the punishment is a maximum jail sentence of a year.
Indecency With A Child
A sex offender can be committed of this crime if the child is under 17 years of age at the time of the offense, and the act includes
- Sexual contact with the victim or behaviors that cause the victim to take part in the act. This would mean the offender has committed a second-degree felony.
- A sexual act to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of an individual. This sexual offense is a third-degree felony.
This criminal sexual conduct includes a person exposing their genitals. This is in a place of public and knowing a member of the public could be present. If another person is present and feels alarmed or offended during the act, it is indecent exposure.
A sex offender found guilty of this crime can expect a maximum of 180 days in jail for the class B misdemeanor.
Improper Relationship Between An Educator And Student
A person working in a position of power within a public or private school, within either primary school or secondary school, can be guilty of this crime for the following reasons.
- The employee engages in sexual contact, a deviant sexual act, or participates in sexual intercourse with a student from the school in which they are employed.
- An individual of any teaching position or school administrative position, regardless of their qualifications for the job, engages in sexual acts with a student enrolled at the same school or participating in any kind of program sponsored by the school.
Sexual crimes of this nature result in a second-degree felony that carries penalties of two to 20 years in prison, depending upon the severity of the sexual crime.
This sexually violent offense involves the deliberate engagement of sexual unlawful contact between the sex offender and an animal involving these circumstances.
- The act involves the use of the sex offender’s anus, genitals, or mouth and that of the animal.
- The animal has contact with the offender’s seminal fluid.
- The offender touches the genitals of the animal that is outside of the usual veterinary or pet owner care.
- The sex offender inserts any object or body part into the animal’s genitals in an indecent manner.
The first offense of Bestiality is a third-degree felony or a class A misdemeanor. A further offense becomes a second-degree felony.
A person can be found guilty of this crime if they watch a person within their residence or within a private location, without the victim’s consent and for the sexual gratification of the sex offender. The first case of this crime is a Class C misdemeanor. However, subsequent violations occurring two or more times result in a Class B misdemeanor.
If the victim was 14 years of age at the time of the crime, voyeurism is a state jail felony, leading to 180 to 2 years in jail and possibly a fine penalty that does Not exceed $10,000.
Invasive Visual Recording
These sexual crimes are conducted without the victim’s consent or knowledge and amount to an invasion of privacy.
If the sex offender takes still photographs or videotapes using electronic devices with the means to share, record or transmit pictures of the victim’s genitals/ intimate parts of their body, and the victim reasonably believes that part of the body should not be shown in public. These conditions provide evidence for a guilty conviction of invasive visual recording.
Additional circumstances include the sex offender sharing or transmitting electronic visuals of the victim in a changing room or bathroom after taking the still or video visuals.
This type of sexual offense can result in 180 days to 2 years in a jail facility.
A sex offender can be found guilty of this crime if they commit a sex crime under chapter 43 of the Texas Penal Code using deliberate extortion or coercion. The first conviction of this crime is a state prison felony. However, further convictions of this crime escalate to a third-degree felony.
Contact An Experienced Sugar Land Sex Crime Lawyer Today
The life of a registered sex offender is a difficult one, with restrictions to freedom from the day of conviction. A highly skilled attorney will be able to thoroughly explain all elements of the conviction.
Contact The Love DuCote Law Firm on 832-843-1691 and find out how we can help with your case.