Failure to Register as Sex Offenders In Texas

What Happens if You Fail to Register as a Sex Offender in Texas?

Sex offender registration is a serious legal requirement in Texas. Failure to register can result in felony charges and severe penalties. In this article, we will explore the implications of failing to register as a sex offender in Texas, who is required to register, the duration of registration, the types of restrictions imposed on sex offenders, and the possibility of exemptions or termination of the duty to register.

Understanding the Texas Sex Offender Registration Program

The Texas Sex Offender Registration Program was established on September 1, 1991, and has since undergone amendments by the Texas Legislature. The program mandates that adult and juvenile sex offenders must register with local law enforcement, either in the city where they reside or with the county law enforcement agency if they do not reside within city limits. Registration involves providing personal information such as name, address, a color photograph, and details of the offense for which the offender was convicted or adjudicated.

Registered sex offenders are also required to periodically verify the accuracy of their registration information and promptly report any changes. The information provided by the offenders is made available to the public. Failure to comply with the registration requirements can lead to felony prosecution.

Who is Required to Register as a Sex Offender in Texas?

The Texas Sex Offender Registration Program, governed by Chapter 62 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, outlines the individuals who must register as sex offenders to avoid charges related to failure to register. The following individuals are required to register:

  1. Those with a “reportable conviction or adjudication”: This includes convictions or adjudications for offenses such as continuous sexual abuse of young children, bestiality, indecency with a child, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, prohibited sexual conduct, and more.
  2. Those required to register as a condition of parole or release to mandatory supervision.
  3. Those required to register as a condition of community supervision (probation).
  4. “Extrajurisdictional registrants”: Individuals who have been required to register as sex offenders in another jurisdiction, such as another state or a foreign country.

Duration of Sex Offender Registration in Texas

The duration of sex offender registration in Texas varies based on the offense and the age of the offender. Adult sex offenders are typically required to register either for life or for ten years following their discharge from state supervision, which includes incarceration, parole, or community supervision.

Lifetime registration applies to offenses considered “sexually violent offenses” and offenses such as trafficking of persons, prohibited sexual conduct, compelling prostitution of a minor, possession or promotion of child pornography, unlawful restraint, kidnapping, and aggravated kidnapping with intent to violate or abuse the victim sexually. Other offenses may require registration for a period of ten years.

Juvenile sex offenders register until the 10th anniversary of the date of disposition of their case or until they complete the terms of their disposition, whichever date is later. If a juvenile case is transferred to a district or criminal district court, the registration period is based on the 10th anniversary of the date of discharge from state supervision or completion of the terms of the disposition.

Consequences of Failing to Register as a Sex Offender

Failure to register as a sex offender in Texas is a felony offense. Those required to register must comply with all aspects of the Texas Sex Offender Registration Program. Failing to do so can result in criminal charges and severe penalties. The consequences may include imprisonment, fines, and potential restrictions on certain activities.

Restrictions Imposed on Sex Offenders in Texas

While the Texas Sex Offender Registration Program does not explicitly prohibit registered sex offenders from living or going near places frequented by children, other laws may impose restrictions known as “child safety zones.” These restrictions, imposed through Texas probation, parole, and city ordinances, prohibit certain individuals from going within specified distances of places where children commonly gather, such as schools, playgrounds, or daycares.

Additionally, individuals with reportable convictions or adjudications for sexually violent offenses and an affirmative finding that the victim was under 14 years of age may face additional restrictions. These restrictions may include being prohibited from operating certain vehicles or providing services in a residence without supervision.

Seeking Exemption or Termination of the Duty to Register

Juvenile sex offenders have the option to seek a court order exempting them from registration or classifying their registration information as nonpublic, thus keeping their information confidential. However, adult offenders have more limited options for exemption. An adult offender may request exemption from registration only if the offense resulted in a conviction or deferred adjudication for indecency with a child or sexual assault, the victim was at least 15 years old, the offender was not more than four years older than the victim at the time of the offense, and the conduct was consensual.

While the registration as a sex offender is active or pending, adult sex offenders may also petition the court for early termination from registration under specific circumstances.


Registering as a sex offender is a legal requirement in Texas, and failure to comply can lead to serious consequences. Understanding the registration process, the duration of registration, the potential restrictions, and the possibility of exemptions or termination is crucial for individuals subject to the Texas Sex Offender

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