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Texas Sex Offender Laws

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Sex Offender Laws in Texas

When a person is convicted of a sexually-based offense in the state of Texas, a variety of different penalties can be applied by the judge. These can include time in prison or jail, fines and mandatory registration as a sex offender. When a person is ordered to register as a sex offender, they must enter their identifying information into a state and national database. This information can be accessed by law enforcement as well as by the general public.

This information includes a convicted offender’s name, physical characteristics and address. This information must be regularly updated and it must be changed to reflect any new addresses or places of employment.

Texas Sex Offender Restrictions

Convicted sex offenders in Texas are prohibited from engaging in a wide variety of actions. These actions can include where they are allowed to live, where they are allowed to work and even public places where they are allowed to go. All of these actions are governed and monitored by the state and a convicted offender who violates the terms of their supervision can face additional penalties.

In certain cases, a convicted sex offender is restricted from being in or near certain public areas. Although this is not always the case, the judge may choose to prohibit a convicted offender from being in or near a “child safety zone“. This means that a convicted offender cannot go in, near or through an area where children commonly gather. This can include areas like:

  • A school
  • A daycare
  • A playground
  • A church where children attend
  • An arcade or establishment where children frequently visit

Being in or near one of these locations where children are present may constitute a violation of a supervision order and can result in a revocation of probation or parole.

In keeping with these restrictions, some convicted sex offenders may be restricted from working in certain occupations. These can include:

  • Schoolteacher
  • Daycare supervisor
  • Camp counselor
  • Religious figure
  • Therapist or counselor

In short, a convicted sex offender may be restricted from working in any profession that requires them to come into or near the presence of any children.

This also means that some convicted sex offenders may not be allowed to live near schools, daycare centers or certain religious institutions. Also, they must notify the local police department of their current address and their neighbors may also be notified of their presence. In Texas, convicted sex offenders may have their names and addresses posted in a local newspaper so that their community can be informed of their presence.

Length of Registration

The length of a mandatory sex offender registration term can vary from case to case. The length of state registration in Texas may be different from the mandatory length of federal sex offender registration. For example, a person who is convicted of unlawful restraint, kidnapping or aggravated kidnapping of a person who is 17 years or younger must register for:

  • A term of 10 years after the date that they are discharged from incarceration

A person who is convicted of human trafficking or continuous sexual abuse of a child or multiple children must register for:

  • The remainder of their life after the date they are discharged from incarceration

In certain cases, a person with a 10-year mandatory registration may have their term changed to lifetime registration if they are re-convicted of committing a new sexually-based offense.

A person who has been sentenced to sex offender registration should consult with an experienced attorney. An attorney may be able to offer advice on insight on how to deal with the terms of a sex offender registration order. This may help a convicted person avoid additional charges so that they can maintain as much freedom as possible.

Have you or someone you know been charged with a sexual crime? Getting a strong legal defense can help guide you through the complex legal process. Contact attorney Brett A. Podolsky’s office today at (713) 227-0087.

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