Under Megan’s Law, a subsection of the federal Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act of 1994, all 50 states are required to maintain sex offender registries of individuals convicted of sex crimes. Each state creates and maintains its own guidelines for its registry, including which offenses carry registration as a requirement for convicted individuals and whether the state maintains a central registry or if counties and municipalities maintain their own registries.
Like other states, Texas has a public sex offender registry with which individuals convicted of certain offenses must register. Living as a registered sex offender has numerous disadvantages, such as being barred from living in certain areas, holding certain jobs, and the social stigma that can accompany this status. If you are facing any type of sex crime charge, working with a competent criminal defense lawyer can be the key to having your charge lowered or even dropped altogether, which can keep you from having to register as a sex offender and other penalties for conviction.
Sex Offenses that Require Registration
Certain offenses require convicted individuals to register for the rest of their lives. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Sexual assault;
- Continuous sexual abuse of children;
- Possession or promotion of child pornography;
- Sexual performance by a child;
- Compelling prostitution;
- Human trafficking;
- Aggravated kidnapping with the intent to sexually violate or abuse the victim; and
- Any other conviction under the law of another state or country that is substantially similar to one of Texas’ sex crime laws.
Other offenses only require convicted individuals to register for 10 years. These offenses include:
- Online solicitation of a minor;
- Prostitution; and
- Unlawful restraint or kidnapping if the victim was under the age of 17.
Registration as a Sex Offender in Texas
Sex offenders must register with their local law enforcement authorities in any municipality where they intend to reside for longer than seven days. To register, an individual must provide the following information:
- A color photograph;
- His or her full name;
- The individual’s current address;
- The individual’s height, weight, hair color, eye color, shoe size, race, and gender;
- The date of the individual’s conviction;
- All of his or her aliases;
- Whether he or she is employed, in school, or intends to maintain a full time job;
- The individual’s phone numbers;
- Whether the individual is on parole, under supervision, discharged, or released from juvenile probation;
- The age of the individual’s victim;
- The offense for which the individual was convicted or adjudicated; and
- All of the individual’s established online aliases.
Requirements for Registered Sex Offenders in Texas
Individuals who are registered sex offenders in Texas face the following requirements:
- All registered offenders must update their personal information, including their addresses, with the Texas Sex Offender Registration Program yearly. Moving without notifying the program of one’s new address is a felony;
- Individuals who spend 48 hours or more in a municipality or county other than their home county or municipality three or more times per month must provide their information to local authorities when away from home;
- Those under court supervision must have all proposed moves approved by their probation officers;
- Those who complete probation or parole are not required to obtain permission to move, but must continue to register all address changes. The Department of Public Safety reserves the right to mail a postcard to all residents and businesses of a high-risk individual’s new neighborhood informing them of his or her presence and if the individual’s victim was under the age of 17, DPS notifies all local schools as well;
- Landlords may discriminate against prospective tenants who are registered sex offenders; and
- Offenders under court supervision are prohibited from participating in civic, athletic, and cultural programs for children age 17 and younger. Additionally, if such programs are conducted on or near schools or playgrounds, offenders are barred from participating.
Work with an Experienced Collin County Criminal Lawyer
If you are facing any type of criminal charge, whether it is for a sex crime or another type of offense, it is in your best interest to start working with an experienced Collin County sex crimes lawyer as soon as possible to develop an effective legal defense strategy for your case. Contact our team at Rosenthal & Wadas, PLLC today to schedule your free, confidential consultation with us in our office.