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All About Sex Offender Registration in Texas

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Texas Sex Offender Registration

In Texas, a criminal conviction for a sexually-based offense can be met with a variety of punishments. In many cases, these punishments can include lengthy prison sentences and steep fines. In certain instances, a judge may order a person convicted of a sexually-based offense to register as a sex offender.

Sex offender registration requires a person to follow a variety of restrictions. This punishment can be ordered for several different offenses, including sexual assault. The length of the registration period may last for several years or for the duration of a person’s life. In some cases, it may be possible to appeal an order for sex offender registration.

ARE YOU BEING CHARGED WITH A SEXUAL CRIME? CONTACT BRETT PODOLSKY TODAY FOR STRONG LEGAL REPRESENTATION.

Sex Offender Registration Rules and Registration Process

When a person is convicted of a sexually-based offense and ordered to register as a sex offender, they must follow a strict process. Typically, a person will be ordered to serve any term of incarceration that is included with their sentence before their registration requirements will take effect.

Once the person is released from incarceration on probation, parole or after their term of incarceration has been completed, they must begin the registration process.

This typically involves meeting with local law enforcement and providing information including:

  • Fingerprints
  • A current photograph
  • Detailed address information
  • Detailed employment information

This process must be completed for the county of residence in which the convicted person will reside during their term of registration. If they move during this period, they must complete the process again in their new county of residence. Also, if they reside in any other town or county for more than one week during their term of registration, they must complete the process again.

This information will be kept on file with the local police and must be updated regularly. For many people, this information must be updated once per year. However, for those who are convicted of a second sex offense or a violent offense, the information must be updated once every 90 days.

Also, the convicted person will be required to meet with their supervising officer regularly. This meeting may be required once a month or less frequently. The local police may use the offender’s registration information to notify the local neighborhood that a convicted sex offender has moved into the area. However, according to the law, the offender’s name and photo will not be distributed along with these notices.

Crimes That Require Registration

There are many crimes that require sex offender registration if a conviction is reached. In most cases, these crimes include an element of illegal sexual activity or sexual violence. However, this does not mean that sexual contact has to occur for sex offender registration to be ordered.

For example, a person who is convicted of indecent exposure for a second time may be required to register as a sex offender. Also, a person who is convicted of kidnapping for the purposes of committing a sexually-based offense may also be required to register, even if they never actually performed their intended action.

Some crimes for which sex offender registration can be ordered include:

  • Sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault
  • Possession or distribution of child pornography
  • Indecency with a child by exposure or contact
  • Promotion of prostitution
  • Burglary with intent to commit a sexually-based offense

In some cases, a person who was ordered to register as a sex offender in another state can be ordered to register as a sex offender in Texas if they move into this state while their registration period is still active.

Length of Registration Period

In Texas, a person can be ordered to register as a sex offender for a period of 10 years or for the duration of their life.

Typically, a person can be ordered to register for 10 years for an offense that is considered less serious. This usually refers to crimes that did not include an element of violence or in which the victim is not a minor.

A person may be required to register for life for a sex offense conviction that included violent actions or which victimized a person aged 17 or younger.

For example, John commits the crime of indecent exposure for a second time and is convicted on his charges. He is required to register as a sex offender in Texas for a period of 10 years. This period will become active when he is released from incarceration or immediately upon sentencing if he is not ordered to serve an incarceration term in prison or jail.

In another example, Alan is convicted of sexual assault. He may be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. This registration period will become active once he has served his term in prison, which may be up to 20 years.

Appealing Sex Offender Convictions

In certain cases, a person who has been ordered to register as a sex offender may apply to have their registration period terminated before the entire length of the registration period has passed.

This is possible for sexually-based offenses for which the mandatory length of registration in Texas is longer than the registration time ordered by federal law.

In order to obtain this early termination, the convicted person must:

  • Have no more than one conviction for which registration is a possible punishment
  • Be judged to no longer present a threat to society

A person can submit the application to have their registration terminated early and, if they meet the requirements, they will be ordered to meet with a licensed specialist who will review their case. If the specialist determines that the offender no longer poses a threat to society, the application can be sent to a judge for review. The judge can then make a determination to grant or deny the early termination request.

Also, a person who is charged with a sexually-based offense may hire a defense attorney to represent them in court. If the attorney can submit evidence which shows that the defendant is not guilty, or if they can show that there is insufficient evidence for a conviction, the charges may be dropped or lowered. If the charges are dropped or if the defendant is found not guilty, they will not be required to register as a sex offender. If the charges are reduced to a lesser offense for which sex offender registration is not required, the defendant will not have to register.

If a defendant has been convicted of a sexually-based offense, an attorney may help them file an appeal as well. If, in the appeals process, the attorney can successfully show that the original conviction was reached improperly or that certain types of evidence should not have been allowed, the conviction might be overturned and the registration requirement may be cancelled.


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