If you have been charged with a sex crime, you could be placed on the Texas Sex Offender Registration Program if you are convicted. Texas’ public notification and sex offender registration laws were enacted to protect members of the public from sex offenders. Those convicted of certain sexual offenses must register with their local law enforcement agency. Below, we will address some of the common questions our clients have about the Texas sex offender registry.
Who Maintains the Sex Offender Registry?
Every local jurisdiction in Texas has a legal obligation to update and maintain the Texas Sex Offender Registration program. Each jurisdiction varies somewhat, and some jurisdictions publicly publish information about convicted sex offenders. They can also create publicly accessible databases so residents can look up registered sex offenders in their geographic area. Many law enforcement agencies will mail residents warnings when high-risk sex offenders move into the vicinity. Typically these warnings include the individual’s charges and best practices for reducing risk.
How Long Will You be in the Registry if Convicted?
Our clients also asked us how long they will need to be included in the Sex Offender Registry. under Texas law, the amount of time a convicted defendant must spend on the registry depends on the severity of the sex crime. For example, those who commit heinous sexual offenses must remain in the registry for longer periods. When the sexual crime is severe enough, they must remain permanently. Offenders who commit less serious crimes often need to register for 10 years or longer. In some cases, judges will individually assess a defendant’s personal risk when determining how long he or she must register.
What Happens if You do Not Register?
One of the important things to remember is that all convicted sex offenders should register with their local law enforcement agencies as soon as possible. If you do not comply with this requirement, the court could revoke your probation. Additionally, you could spend time in jail and face additional penalties. It is best to register as soon as possible.
What are the Restrictions for Registered Texas Sex Offenders?
In addition to the stigma that often comes with being a registered sex offender, convicted defendants also need to comply with multiple restrictions, such as:
Travel restrictions prohibiting registered sex offenders from leaving their home state
Residency restrictions require offenders to remain a certain distance away from Parks, daycares, schools, and playgrounds
Employment restrictions that prevent registered sex offenders from working in certain types of job
A prohibition from coming in contact with minors
Restrictions on voting when a defendant is convicted of a felony sex offense
Restrictions on firearm ownership
Restrictions on internet access or access to social media accounts
Contact a Fort Worth Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If you have been charged with a sexually based crime in Texas, it is imperative that you hire a lawyer as soon as possible for your defense. Contact the criminal defense lawyers at Abel Law Firm today to schedule your initial consultation to learn how we will advocate for your rights.