Sex Offender Registry Laws in Texas
No other set of crimes leaves the person convicted and branded for life. The public vilifies sex crimes in ways that no further offenses are.
Have you ever thought about why there is a registry for sex offenders and not for murderers?
Someone who takes a life can walk out of prison after they serve their sentence and start fresh.
After sex offenders “serve their time,” they are often forced to register for their entire lives. These registry requirements dictate where they can live, the places they are allowed to visit, and who they can have around them. It also means that any public member has access to their personal information.
The Texas Sex Offender Registration Program (Chapter 62 of the Code of Criminal Procedure) is a sex offender registration and public notification law designed to protect the public from sex offenders.
This sets someone with a sex offense conviction to become a target of vigilantes. Despite many attempts at the state and federal levels to prove these requirements are unconstitutional, they have been upheld so far. Nobody should live in fear after they serve their time.
Texas Sex Offender Registration Program
There are 21 offenses that a person could be convicted of in Texas that could land them on the sex offender registry. When a person is convicted and is required to register, they have ten days to write (3 days upon release from prison) with the county’s sheriff. If an offender moves, they have three days to notify the sheriff’s office. When they register, they are required to:
- Submit an electronic fingerprint.
- Your name and all aliases
- All online identifiers (email addresses, social medial screen names, etc.)
- A current photograph
- A blood sample (already on file if coming out of prison)
This information is available online for anyone to see through state websites. The Internet sex offender website is maintained by the Texas DPS and includes your name, age, address, photo, and description of your offense. Other sites use this information, so-called informative websites, that are little more than vigilante sites.
Depending on the risk level a person is assigned, the surrounding community may be notified through door-to-door flyers and press releases.
Those required to register must get a particular driver’s license that notifies police of their history if they run it. This license must be renewed yearly with a new photograph and current address.
Most people charged and convicted of a sex offense end up having to register with the state of Texas. Even if they serve no prison time, the registry is often a requirement.
Staying Off Of The Registry
There have been many misconceptions over the years about sex offenders, even from the highest court in the country. Former Justice Anthony Kennedy once said there was an 80% chance that sex offenders would re-offend. He was citing statistics from a study that was not even talking about sex offenders, but it certainly scared people.
The reality is that those convicted of a sex crime are not more likely to re-offend than those convicted of other crimes, contrary to popular belief.
Recidivism Rates for Sex Offenders
Recidivism rates for sex offenders are lower than for the general criminal population.
If you have been charged with a crime that would require you to register as a sex offender in Texas, you must secure a skilled attorney who understands these laws and the penalties. Relying on an overworked public defender for a situation like this is a bad idea considering the potential lifelong consequences. These charges can be terrifying, but by having someone at your back who can guide you through this process, you can rest assured.
Is It Possible to Remove Your Name from the Sex Offender Registry?
Offenders in Texas can remove their names from the sex offender registry through a process known as deregistration. When an offender meets specific criteria, their name might be deleted using this procedure. While attempting to safeguard the public, politicians were also aware that maintaining registration as a sex offender would result in an everlasting sentence. They stated that many sex offenders must spend years in sex offender counseling. These mental health doctors may conclude that the sex offender poses no risk to the public. The deregistration process helps a defendant to avoid the stigma of being identified as a sex offender while still protecting the public.
How to Deregister as a Texas Sex Offender
It is always beneficial to evaluate your deregistration eligibility if you are currently on the Texas sex offender registry. While violent offenses usually are not eligible for deregistration, unlawful conduct such as internet solicitation of a minor, possession of child pornography, and forced prostitution may be.
The application will include a current criminal history check to see if you have re-offended and a court order outlining your original conviction, indictment, crime report, and probable cause affidavit. Your age at the time of the violation and any other mitigating considerations will be included in the application.
Significantly, eligibility will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Your age at the time of the offense, as well as the presence of any aggravating or mitigating elements, will be considered.
A Texas criminal defense attorney with experience defending against sex offense allegations can assist you in evaluating your case, determining whether you meet additional registration requirements, and locating any relevant supporting evidence.