In Texas, there are many different sex crimes that can result in an individual’s obligation to register as a sex offender. A person convicted of one of these sex crimes must go through the process of sex offender registration. If they do not, they risk a subsequent conviction, greater legal penalties, and the possibility of greater limitations on their life.
Convicted sex offenders need to be fully aware of the stipulations of the sex offender registry. Ignorance around the specific rules or a lack of awareness of being required to register will not excuse any violation of sex offender laws. Breaking them or failing to follow protocol will cause additional punishments and life complications.
If you have been accused or found guilty of a sex offense, it is imperative that you speak with an experienced Sugar Land sex crime lawyer as soon as possible. They will be able to handle your case and provide legal advice to navigate the complexities of your situation.
Which Crimes Require Sex Offender Registration If A Guilty Verdict Is Reached?
The sex offender registration act covers multiple crimes in order to increase public safety from sexual predators.
Below, we will list all of the sex crimes that could result in a person becoming a registered sex offender. Some of these crimes will only require sex offender registration for multiple offenses, whereas simply attempting the act is enough for others.
Crimes that could result in sex offender registration include:
- Aggravated kidnapping for sexual purposes
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Child pornography
- Compelling prostitution
- Continuous sexual assault of a child
- Indecent contact
- Indecent exposure
- Online solicitation of a minor
- Sexual assault of a child
- Sexual assault
- Sexual battery
- Sexual performance by a child
- Statutory rape
- Sex trafficking
- Unlawful restraint
The Information Registered Sex Offenders Must Provide
Under sex offender registry laws, anyone who is required to register must complete extensive forms that provide detailed personal information about themselves.
These details will be taken by the law enforcement agency when the offender registers.
The details a sex offender must provide include:
- Their first, second, and middle names
- Any other aliases they use
- The place where the offender resides
- Their date of birth
- Their sex
- Their race
- Their height and weight
- The color of their eyes and hair
- A recent photograph
- Details of their sexual offenses
- Their current employment status or job details
- Information detailing their online presence, including social media handles and email addresses used.
This information will be used for public safety to minimize the risk of a convicted sexual predator causing additional harm.
A Registered Sex Offender Will Be Assigned A Risk Level
Registered sex offenders will be assigned a level, which corresponds with the severity of their sexual offenses and the risk they pose to the public. The victim’s age is often also taken into account to determine what level of risk a sexual predator falls into.
These levels are as follows:
- Level 1, low risk – the sex offender is deemed as posing a low level of danger and it is estimated that there is a low likelihood of them committing an additional sexual offense
- Level 2, moderate risk – the sex offender is deemed as posing a moderate level of danger and it is estimated that there is a reasonable likelihood of them committing an additional sexual offense
- Level 3, high risk – the sex offender is deemed as posing a high level of danger and it is estimated that there is a high likelihood of repeat sexual crime or sexually violent offenses
Sexual offenders will find that the restrictions placed upon them and the supervision required by a probation officer will vary depending on the risk category they are assigned to. The more severe the risk, the tighter the restrictions and the more intense the supervision.
How an accused person handles their case can also weigh heavily into these conditions. If a person is compliant with each step of the law and shows remorse and respect for due process, these factors will be considered. However, for particularly serious offenses like violent sexual offenses or sexual criminal acts involving minors, it may not have an impact on the overall judgment.
The Different Restrictions Placed On A Registered Sex Offender
Anyone convicted of a sex offense that requires registration will have their freedoms restricted. As we mentioned above, the level of these restrictions depends on which risk category the sex offender in question is placed into.
In the following sections, we will outline each of the restrictions applied to those who have committed crimes of a sexual nature.
Restrictions On Travel
Some sex offenders who have committed sexual abuse will be limited in where they are allowed to travel. This is usually restricted to an area close to their residence, and may be enforced with probation supervision and/or tracking devices.
These restrictions will vary depending on the severity of the sexual abuse and whether it was sexually violent in nature. For some, travel may be possible, but only with official permission from a parole officer or local law enforcement agency.
If a sex offender is granted permission to go on holiday, they must report to the law enforcement agency under the command of the county sheriff if their stay is greater than 2 full days. In these circumstances, the sex offender usually has to report back to law enforcement 3 times per month.
Restrictions On Residency
Those required to register as a sex offender after sexual abuse will be limited on where they can live.
Sex offenders often need to be a certain enforced distance from certain areas, and this includes where they live. These areas include daycare centers, school grounds (either public or private school), college campuses, public parks, and playgrounds. This is usually to protect children from the potential risks posed by a sexual predator.
In cities and other high-density urban environments, it can often be hard to find housing that fulfills the necessary criteria that come with a successful conviction for a sexual criminal act. However, this is an area that your parole officer will be able to assist you with.
Restrictions On Contact With Minors
Any registered sex offender whose sexual abuse case involved minors, such as those found guilty of child molestation or a sex offense involving child pornography, will not be able to interact with minors due to the risk of sexual gratification.
This often means that sex offenders may have to change residence if there are families with children present in the local area.
Restrictions On Internet Access
If somebody is convicted of being a sexual predator online, their rights to access the internet are often impacted.
This may be a ban on the use of social media, or it could mean that sex offender is banned from using the internet entirely.
If somebody is convicted of crimes involving child pornography, these restrictions are almost certain.
Restrictions On Community Participation
Many sex offenders, especially those with a sexually violent history or with convictions of sex crimes involving children, will be banned from participating in community events.
This means the sex offender will be unable to attend or organize any event open to the wider community. This can often cause problems with a sex offender reintegrating into society. However, it is deemed an acceptable consequence to prevent potentially sexually violent predators from sharing spaces that children and other vulnerable people frequently attend.
Restrictions On Employment
Any sexual offender will be entirely prevented from working any role that involves children, be this a role in a public or private school or an extracurricular role such as involvement in scouting organizations. A sex offender does not have to have committed an offense against children or a sexually violent offense to receive these restrictions.
For certain sex offenders, these restrictions could extend to other professions or industries, depending on the specifics of their conviction.
Jobs that could be restricted to a sex offender include:
- Working in any educational setting or any other role that explicitly involves minors
- Driving public buses
- Driving certain private vehicles, such as taxis or even limousines
- Working at amusement parks
- Any other service job that does not involve direct supervision
A sex offender will not just be subject to the specific sexual offense laws of Texas. They will also have to comply with federal-level laws.
One of these federal laws, set forth by the State Department of Corrections, means that a sex offender may not be able to use their passport once they have been convicted of a sex crime.
This is to prevent the risk of a sex offender fleeing, and usually applies in particular to sex offenders who have committed a sex offense involving minors.
However, it may still be possible for a sex offender to be issued a new passport. This new passport will be a reprint featuring a specific marker that will identify them as a sex offender in any other state or country they visit.
Restrictions Associated With Felony Crimes
Sexual offenses and felonies overlap. This means that as well as the restrictions placed on somebody due to their place on the sex offender’s register, they will also be limited as a felon.
Firstly, any felon could lose their right to vote. This is usually until they have completed their probation period – or, in the case of sex offenders, the duration of their stay on the sex offender’s register.
Secondly, all felons are unable to own firearms. Once a person is convicted of a felony-level offense, their second amendment rights are withdrawn. These rights are only reinstated a full 5 years after they have served their complete sentence.
Recent Changes To Sex Offense Laws In Texas
Some laws, such as the federal law known as Megan’s law have been part of the Texas legal system for a long time. Since 1996, Megan’s law has dictated that once someone is on the registry for a sex crime, this information must be freely accessible to the public for their safety.
However, some Texas sex crime laws are much more recent. Once again, these laws are aimed at maximizing public safety and minimizing the risks that violent sexual criminals pose to the society they live amongst.
The most significant of these is a change to the way the registry itself works. Previously, some offenders had been allowed to take plea bargains that allowed them to deregister after a certain number of years had passed.
However, updated laws mean that many people successfully convicted of a sexual criminal act now have to register for life. These updated laws have the power to overturn the stipulations previously granted by plea bargains to shorten an offender’s time on the offender’s register.
If you are someone who has previously submitted a plea deal and are worried that laws since that time may have impacted your legal rights, it is vital that you get in touch with an experienced attorney as soon as possible to concretize your understanding of your rights. If not, you risk violating the updated terms and receiving further punishment.
What Kind Of Life Is Possible For Sex Offenders?
While there is a lengthy list of restrictions for people who have been found guilty of a sex crime, there are still avenues of life that remain. Of course, these will depend on the severity of the charges and the risk posed to the public.
The following sections will explore some of the possibilities still open to those who are placed on the sex offender registry. However, it is important to remember that these will not apply to everyone. If a person is convicted of a particularly heinous or violent sexual crime, the scope of the things they are permitted to do will be decreased considerably.
Job Roles Usually Compatible With Sex Offender Registry Status
There are several jobs that are sometimes compatible with a guilty conviction for a sex offense. However, this may vary depending on the details of a person’s offenses, or any other past non-sexual offenses.
Jobs often suitable for sex offenders include:
- Animal shelters – due to the fact that many roles in animal shelters do not involve interfacing with the public, this can be a suitable place of work. However, if a person has a past history of violence or harm against animals, this will almost certainly not be a possibility
- Restaurant work – back-of-house work at a restaurant is often a suitable role for a sex offender. This is due to the fact that these roles involve almost constant supervision, both in person and through security footage
- Temporary work agencies – many temp agents accept sex offenders. In fact, this is a common first source of employment for sex offenders. If the person performs well, this can often lead to a permanent role
The Possibility Of Further Education
For sex offenders who do not pose a high level of threat to society and who comply completely with their registration requirements and other stipulations, further education is not out of the question.
Often, if a sex offender demonstrates good behavior and compliance, further education is taken as a good indicator of the desire for personal development and reintegration with society – within the scope of the restraints placed upon them.
Any change to a sex offender’s educational status will need to be supported and officially signed off by a parole officer, as well as officials at the educational establishment. Often, the campus police department will also be involved in the process.
Contact A Texas Sex Crimes Lawyer From The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC Firm Today
If you have been accused of a sexual offense, whether it is possession of child pornography or unlawful restraint with a sexual element, the most important thing to do is contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
Sexual crimes are complex and emotionally volatile situations for everybody involved. The laws surrounding them are similarly complex, and the consequences if you misstep could be great. An experienced lawyer will help you navigate the Texas law system, both before your accusations have a chance to become a conviction or if you are already required to register. We offer a wealth of legal experience in a judgment-free and compassionate atmosphere.
The most important thing following a sexual offense is your next step. You need to take the right actions as quickly as possible to preserve or maximize your freedoms – potentially for the rest of your life.