How long do sex offenders have to register in Texas? Once you register as a sex offender, are you branded for life? The answer—as it so often is when dealing with the law—is: it depends. Adult sex offenders are looking at 10 years up to life on the Texas Sex Offender Registry, determined by their age and the severity of the crime. It is also possible to avoid registration entirely based on a personal risk assessment carried out by the court.
Texas sex offender registration laws are complex and unforgiving. If you or a loved one has been accused of a sex crime and are therefore facing sex offender registration in Fort Worth, you need an experienced sex crimes lawyer in your corner. Call the experienced sex crimes lawyers at Westfall Sellers at (817) 928-4222 today for expert defense.
How long does a person have to register as a sex offender in Texas?
How long a person will be on the Sex Offender Registry depends on the crime committed and the age of the person who committed it. Minors accused of sex crimes will have to register as sex offenders for 10 years after the disposition of their case or after completing terms of said disposition, while adults will get 10 years on the registry for crimes that don’t involve children or violence.
One important exception for minors under the age of consent in Texas is the Romeo and Juliet law, which states that minors between the ages of 14 and 17 can legally engage in consensual sexual acts with someone within three years of their age, as long as the other party is at least 14 years old. This provision exists to prevent teens in consensual relationships from being wrongly convicted of statutory rape in Texas.
For adults who were accused of a crime involving children or violence, if you are convicted, you can face a lifetime on the Sex Offender Registry once you complete your long stay in prison. All sex crimes are not made equal; a conviction for sexual harrassment will likely allow you to avoid the Sex Offender Registry altogether, while a conviction for sexual assault will likely put you on it for life.
Continue reading: Sexual harrassment vs. sexual assault
Being accused of sexual violence or child pornography will ruin your life if you don’t hire an attorney to tell your side of the story. If you have been accused of a child pornography offense, you don’t have much time, fight for your freedom by hiring an aggressive and compassionate child pornography lawyer from Westfall Sellers today.
What happens if you fail to register as a sex offender in Texas?
Failure to register as a sex offender is called “failure to comply” in Texas. Failure to comply with sex offender registration rules can mean serious consequences up to felony charges and even life in prison.
Failure to comply doesn’t necessarily mean that you didn’t register yourself as a sex offender, but did not keep law enforcement updated in the way that is required by the rules of registration. A failure to comply arises most commonly in two scenarios:
- Someone who is on the registered sex offenders list moves municipalities without notifying local law enforcement and changin their address.
- Someone who is on the registered sex offenders list fails to update their personal information every 90 days while under supervision.
Consequences for doing this even once can be severe. If you fail to comply with the Texas sex offender registration laws you may have probation revoked, fined $10,000, or be put back into a state prison for 2-20 years. If you fail to comply twice you will be charged with a first degree felony, which can put you away for up to 99 years.
What are the rules for sex offenders in Texas?
What are sex offenders not allowed to do in Texas? Some of the restrictions placed on those on the Sex Offender Registry include:
- Travel restrictions. Most sex offenders must remain in specific locations, and require special permission to leave the state.
- Housing restrictions. Sex offenders face restricted housing options, and often cannot live near schools, daycares, parks, or playgrounds.
- Employment restrictions. Sex offenders cannot be professionally licensed by many boards, limiting available work in many fields.
- Internet restrictions. Sex offenders who committed their crimes online often face social media and internet surveilance, if not complete bans.
- Voting and firearm restrictions. Like most felons, sex offenders are no longer able to vote in local or national elections or bear arms.
- Restrictions on contact with minors. Sex offenders cannot live with — and in some circumstances even visit with — minors.
Breaking any of the regulations of the Sex Offender Registry will result in a failure to comply, which can mean more jail time, and a lot of it.
Can a sex offender get off the registry in Texas?
Texas sex offender registration laws do allow for those on the Sex Offender Registry to petition to have their names removed from the registry through deregistration — if they meet certain requirements. Those requirements are:
- The applicant has only one reportable conviction or adjudication for a sex offense
- The minimum registration period for your reportable conviction must exceed the minimum registration period under the federal law
- The offense must have been handed down by a Texas court, no out of state convictions or adjudications are eligible
- You can be disqualified for the age of the victim at the time of the offense, the difference in age between the victim and the offender, and specific fact patterns related to the offense
These requirements being met does not guarantee that your petition will be accepted, only that you have the right to apply. The court will go over criminal backgrounds, reports of the initial offense, treatment programs, and more to decide whether or not to deregister an applicant from the Texas Sex Offender Registry.
Convicted of a sex crime? Call the sex crimes attorneys at Westfall Sellers for expert defense
So, how long do sex offenders have to register in Texas? Either 10 years or life. Both of which are too long if you value your freedom. An accusation does not equal a conviction, but a fair fight often means hiring aggressive representation.
There are many criminal defense firms that you can hire, but few have the experience and ability to fight serious sex crimes cases that go to trial. Our criminal defense attorneys know how to handle sensitive, high-stakes cases, and they know how to win. Call Westfall Sellers today at (817) 928-4222 or contact us online for a free consultation.
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