The shocking nature of sex crimes often leaves those convicted facing social stigmatism long after the formal penalties end. Required sex offender registration can add to the problem as it limits where you can live and work.
Ten years to life
Lawmakers created the sex offender registry to protect the public from sexual predators. Both juveniles and adults convicted of applicable crimes must register. Under Texas law, over 20 sexual offenses require sex offender registration following a conviction. If you were convicted of a sex crime in another state, you may still need to register if your offense bears a similarity to a Texas offense that requires registration. Depending on your offense, the duration of your registration may last either ten years or for the rest of your life. Failure to register is a felony.
A loss of privacy
Given the highly sensitive nature of sex crimes, you may have taken steps to handle your case discretely. However, required sex offender registration makes information about you and your offense public. Upon registering, you must provide:
- Your full name
- Your address
- Your conviction
- A color photograph
After submitting the above information, law enforcement will periodically require you to verify accuracy. If something changes, you are responsible for promptly reporting changes to law enforcement.
The information about your person and whereabouts that you provide is entered into a statewide sex offender registration database maintained by the Texas Department of Public. Similar databases exist at local law enforcement levels. Most of this information is available to the public.
Sex offender registration laws also allow local authorities to notify community members about sex offenders by placing notifications in local publications, such as community newsletters and local newspapers. If your offense classifies you as a sexually violent predator, authorities will mail a notification with your information to each local residence and business.
Subject to an imperfect system
Although designed to protect public welfare, the sex offender registration system is not without flaws. Once registered, all offenders face the same scrutiny even though the seriousness of the offenses can differ significantly. If you are facing a sex crime charge, skilled legal representation can help you avoid registration.