In the U.S., each state is responsible for maintaining a list of the convicted sex offenders who live there. Texas’s sex offender list, sometimes called a “registry,” is officially called The Texas Public Sex Offender Website. This registry contains the names and other identifying information of people who have been convicted of certain sex crimes. The laws that govern the sex offender registry can be found at Chapter 62. Sex Offender Registration Program.
One intent of the registry is to make the public aware of any convicted sex offenders who are living, working, and attending schools in their community. However, this information cannot be used to intimidate an offender. The registry states that, “Anyone who uses any information on this website to injure, harass, or for any other unlawful purpose may be subject to criminal prosecution or civil liability.”
What information is on the registry? Is it available to the public?
The information found on the Texas Sex Offender Registry is available to the public. Convicted sex offenders residing in Texas have an entry, which includes:
- The person’s full legal name, as well as any nicknames or aliases
- Date of birth
- Home address
- Names and addresses of any higher education institutions the person is attending
- A color photograph
- Physical description: height, weight, hair color, ethncity
- Information about the offense(s):
- Victim’s sex and age
- Crime committed
- Disposition date
- Judgment information
- How long the person is required to be on the registry
- The offender’s “risk level” will be noted as either low, medium, or high. The risk level takes into account whether the person is a “danger to the community” and how likely they are to “engage in criminal sexual conduct.”
A person convicted of a sex crime in Texas would not only be on the state’s registry, but on the National Sex Offender Registry as well.
How to find someone on the sex offender registry
- The offender’s name
- A specific address. This can be done by people who want to know if there are any sex offenders living near their home or work, for example.
- Names of higher education institutions, to see if any offenders are students there
What type of crimes result in being added to the Sex Offender Registry?
Some of the crimes that may require a person to register as a sex offender in Texas include:
- Continuous sexual abuse of young child or children
- Indecency with a child
- Sexual assault
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Prohibited sexual conduct
- Aggravated promotion of prostitution
- Compelling prostitution
- Sexual performance by a child
- Possession or promotion of child pornography
There may be crimes that require registration even when sexual misconduct did not actually occur. In these cases, intent is enough. Such is the case for aggravated kidnapping, if the kidnapping occurred “with intent to violate or abuse the victim sexually.”
How long is someone on the Sex Offender Registry?
Being listed as a sex offender is a long-term situation. In some cases, offenders must register for their entire lives. In other cases, the requirement to register “ends on the 10th anniversary of the date on which the person is released from a penal institution or discharges community supervision.”
What are the consequences of being on a sex offender registry?
Convicted offenders on the registry have certain reporting responsibilities. They must report changes in their living situations, including address, within a certain amount of time. Not registering or failing to keep their information updated is considered a crime and carries its own penalties.
In addition, there is an inherent lack of privacy that comes with being on the list. Anyone can conduct a simple online search of the registry and find out quite a bit of information about an offender. And in our society, there is a fair amount of social stigma that comes with being convicted of a sex crime. The registry shows the conviction in “black and white” terms, which may or may not be the full story.
In addition to the registration requirements and parole or community supervision, a person convicted of a sex crime may face other consequences. There can be restrictions on places they can go, what jobs they can hold, and where they can live.
Prohibited “child safety zones”
Some offenders on the registry will be prohibited from entering “child safety zones.” Section 508.187. Child Safety Zone defines these areas and facilities as:
- day-care facilities
- public or private youth centers
- public swimming pools
- video arcade facilities
In practical terms, what do child safety zones mean for people on the sex offender list? It means they cannot work or volunteer at any of these places, limiting employment opportunities for some people. Additionally, child safety zone requirements have serious consequences for offenders with children. Attending school plays, sporting events, swimming lessons, or picking up their child from daycare would all be prohibited activities.
Restrictions on employment
In addition to any child safety zone restrictions, an offender may be prohibited from operating amusement rides and driving a bus, taxi, or limo. And many other types of jobs may require a criminal background check before hiring.
Difficulties as a renter
Being on the sex offender list and trying to rent a house or apartment can be problematic. Many landlords do a background check and may not rent to felons, including sex offenders.
Sex Offender Lawyer in Plano, Texas
If you’ve been arrested for a sex crime in Texas, time is of the essence. The prosecution is already building a case against you. The possibility of ending up on the sex offender list should not be taken lightly. You need an aggressive attorney who will fight for the best possible outcome for your case.
The truth is, not all criminal defense lawyers are the same. You need one who is experienced in handling sex crime cases. Attorney Kent Starr believes in your right to a fair trial. Unlike other attorneys, he is not afraid to go to trial and will do so if necessary for your case. He personally handles all of his cases himself, and we will never leave your case to a less experienced or junior attorney. Give him a call today at 214-982-1408.