Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer: Understanding Sex Offender Registry in Texas

If you are convicted of a sex crime in Texas, you will likely be required to register as a convicted sex offender. So, unlike other criminal convictions, you are slapped with a life-long penalty. The information you have to share and the obligations you must fulfill follow you throughout much of your life unless you qualify to be taken off the registry. If you do not follow the rules, that can land you into more trouble.

At The Law Offices of Steven Clary, our sex crimes defense attorney in Dallas, Kaufman, Rockwall, and Collin Counties handles complex cases and helps clients obtain acquittals, dismissals, and reductions. Call us today at (972) 722-0887 to schedule a free phone consultation and learn more about what your legal options are and how we can help you obtain the best outcome in your situation.

What Is Texas's Sex Offender Registry?

A sex offender registry is a publicly-available database of convicted sex offenders. It contains details of the offense as well as the offender's

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Residential, employment, and school addresses
  • Photograph
  • Physical description 
  • Fingerprints
  • Criminal history
  • Vehicle details
  • Social media accounts and emails

If you are convicted of a relevant sex offense in Texas, you will be required to register with local law enforcement authorities. You must also notify the authorities of any change in your information. Depending on the circumstances, you may also be required to confirm your details regularly. It is important to keep in mind that sex offender registry requirements continue well after you have completed a criminal sentence.

An attorney from The Law Offices of Steven Clary can help you navigate the registration process and make sure you comply with all laws. Failure to comply can result in both state and federal criminal charges.

The purpose of the sex offender registry is to protect the public by notifying them of the presence of a convicted sex offender in the area. If you are a registered sex offender, the authorities can proactively share your information with local organizations or associations or the general public. Sex offender registries are the result of Megan's Law (Public Law 104-145). Megan's Law is a federal law that

require(s) the release of relevant information to protect the public from sexually violent offenders.

After Megan's Law was enacted in 1996, states followed suit by enacting their own legislation and implementing their own state-specific sex offender registry.

Who Must Register as a Sex Offender in Texas?

If you're convicted of a relevant sex crime, you must register as a sex offender. Relevant sex crimes can include:

  • Rape
  • Sexual assault
  • Kidnapping
  • Possession of child pornography
  • Indecent exposure
  • Child molestation

If the offense involved a child or violence, you will most likely be required to register. You must also register in both the state where the offense occurred and the state where you live if they are different. 

Any registration obligations you may have must be clearly explained to you by the court.

Who Must Register as a Sex Offender at the Federal Level?

Though most sex offender crimes fall under state jurisdictions, some offenses are covered by federal law. The U.S. Department of Justice uses a tier system when classifying what offenses require sex offender registration.

Tier 1

Tier 1 offenses are crimes that include an element of sexual contact or sexual acts, like:

  • Possessing or receiving child pornography
  • Falsely imprisoning a minor
  • Participating in video voyeurism of a minor
  • Traveling or facilitating travel with the intent to engage in illicit conduct
  • Transmitting information about a minor to further criminal sexual misconduct

Tier 2

Tier 2 offenses apply to persons who have been convicted of a Tier 1 offense but can also include:

  • Using minors in prostitution and/or sex trafficking
  • Alluring minors to engage in criminal sexual activity
  • Engaging in a non-forced sexual act with a minor who is 16 or 17 years old
  • Producing or distributing child pornography
  • Using minors in sexual performance

Tier 3

Tier 3 offenses apply to persons who have been convicted of a Tier 2 offense but can also include:

  • Kidnapping a minor (non-parents)
  • Making sexual contact with minors under the age of 13
  • Engaging in sexual abuse, aggravated sexual abuse, sexual abuse of a minor, and abusive sexual contact with a minor under the age of 13

Violations of the Dallas, Kaufman, Rockwall, and Collin Counties Sex Offender Registry

Violations of the sex offender registry may result in state or federal prosecution. What is important to know here, however, is that it may not be charged as just any other crime but can be prosecuted as another sex offense. If the latter is true in your jurisdiction, you can face harsher penalties.

Always speak to a sex crimes attorney in Texasabout your case to make sure you know what to expect and what laws apply to your case.

Examples of Sex Offender Registry Violations

If you fail to register, update, or confirm your details with local law enforcement authorities, you may face additional charges at both a state and federal level. Sex offender registry violations can but is not limited (because they can be state-specific) include the failure to:

  • Initially register with local law enforcement authorities
  • Provide authorities with complete or accurate details
  • Notify authorities of a change of address
  • Provide all information requested by a probation officer while on supervised release

There can be serious consequences for violating sex offender registry requirements. 

Consequences for Violating the Sex Offender Registry

Failing to comply with sex offender registry requirements carries a range of penalties, including fines, probation, and incarceration.

If you are in the community on a supervised order, such as probation or parole, a violation of registry requirements can also send you back to prison. 

Can you be removed from a Sex Offender Registry in Dallas, Kaufman, Rockwall, and Collin Counties?

The length of your registration period depends on the circumstances of your case, including the seriousness of your crime and your risk of reoffending. 

Low-risk offenders may be removed from the registry after a fixed period, starting at 10 years. But if you've been convicted of a serious offense, such as a violent sex crime, you can remain in the registry for life. 

In certain circumstances, you may be eligible to apply to the court to remove your details from the registry. Generally, it takes at least ten years with no reoffending before you're eligible for removal. However, an original conviction for certain offenses (for example, rape), can bar you from this process. 

If you're pardoned or your conviction is overturned, you can also ask the court to remove you from the registry. Having an experienced, knowledgeable attorney from The Law Offices of Steven Clary on your side can make all the difference in this process.

Contact a Sex Crimes Defense Attorney in Dallas, Kaufman, Rockwall, and Collin Counties Today

Texas aggressively prosecutes sex offenses, including sex offender registration violations. You need a defense team on your side to challenge the charges. Call our sex crimes lawyer based in Dallas, Kaufman, Rockwall, and Collin Counties at (972) 722-0887 today or fill out an online contact form to get a free phone consultation scheduled.