Failure to Register as a Sex Offender in Texas
The state of Texas uses mandatory sex offender registration to prevent convicted offenders from committing additional crimes. Registration also serves the purpose of monitoring convicted offenders and keeping track of their address and place of employment. In most cases, a person who is convicted of a sexually-based offense can be ordered to register upon their release from incarceration or when they are placed on supervised probation. The length of registration can vary from 10 years up to the remainder of a person’s life.
Violating the rules of a registration order can lead to revocation of probation, the issuing of a warrant and, in some cases, new charges being filed.
What Is Failure To Register?
Any person who is ordered by a Texas court to register as a sex offender must comply with their registration right away. A person who is being released from jail or prison must register immediately upon their release. A person who is being placed onto probation must register within 72 hours of the order being put into place. Failure to register is a serious offense.
Failure to comply with any part of a sex offender registration order can be considered a felony-level offense in the state of Texas. There are several ways that a person can fail to register:
- Never showing up to complete the registration
- Registering with inaccurate or incomplete information
- Missing mandatory appointments with their supervision officer
In order to avoid a failure to register charge, a convicted offender must abide by all parts of their registration order. This includes the initial registration as well as updating the information on a regular basis.
As part of their supervision, convicted sex offenders in Texas must update their personal information:
- Every six months
- Every three months
The time frame in which a convicted offender must update their information depends on the severity of their conviction and the corresponding sentence.
Failure to abide by the rules regarding updated information can also result in felony level charges. For example, if a convicted offender is released from prison and registers as a sex offender with the local police department, they may successfully begin their supervision period. However, if they do not show up to their appointment and do not provide updated information, they could face criminal charges.
The legal penalties for failure to comply with a registration order can be very severe. For example, a person who is required to update their personal information every 90 days while on supervision can be convicted of a second degree felony for failing to update. This can lead to:
- Revocation of probation
- A fine of up to $10,000
- Two to 20 years in Texas state prison
In some cases, the penalties for failing to register can be enhanced. For example, if it is discovered that a person failed to comply with their registration by using fraudulent or false information, the penalty category of their offense can be automatically upgraded to the next highest level. For some offenders, this could mean that they could face a first degree felony charge, punishable by life in prison.
Registering as a sex offender is a very serious matter and even one mistake can have serious consequences. Failing to comply with a registration order can land someone in jail with their probation revoked. A single error could mean that an offender might lose a chance at parole in the future. When someone is charged with a failure to comply with a registration order, they should call a lawyer immediately.
In fact, it’s a good idea to consult an attorney before any errors take place. An attorney may be able to advise an offender on the best way to comply with their supervision orders so that mistakes don’t happen in the first place. Keeping up with all of the requirements and regulations that go along with these orders can be difficult and confusing. By seeking the counsel of an experienced attorney, a person who is required to register as a sex offender in Texas can make sure that they are in compliance.
Have you or someone you know been required to register as a sex offender? Consult a tough, experience attorney to ensure that your rights are protected. Brett Podolsky is a Houston-based lawyer that can help you. Contact his office today at 713-227-0087.