The Long-Term Consequences of the Sex Offender Registry
Since 1991, Texas has maintained a sex-offender registry. Today, Texas has the most populous list of the fifty states–100,000 individuals. California comes in second at 83,000, and New York trails in third with 42,000. Nearly 25 percent of registered sex offenders in the United States are in either Texas or California.
The individuals on these registries face many long-term consequences as a result of their guilty plea and the requirement to register as sex offenders. It is crucial to take sexual offense charges seriously and avoid adding your name to a registry. Hiring an experienced Forth Worth sexual assault attorney can help you understand the additional consequences of registration. If you have not yet been charged with a crime but suspect you might be, it is a good idea to get an attorney on your side.
How Long Do Convicted Offenders Have to Remain Registered as a Sex Offender in Texas?
Under Texas law, the most serious sex crime offenders must register as offenders for the rest of their lives. Other sexual offenses require ten years.
As a condition of probation, all offenders must register for the Texas Sex Offender Registration Program with their local law enforcement agency. If you are required to register, you must do so as soon as possible. Offenders must continue to register after their probation or prison terms are complete. Registration must be updated at least annually, but may be more often depending on the determined level of risk. If an offender fails to register, the may suffer consequences from probation or parole revocation to being charged with a new crime.
The Consequences of Being on the Sex Offender Registry
Sex offender registrants often suffer serious limitations on their ability to live freely. The additional conditions are designed to preserve public safety and discourage recurrent offenses. Some of the restrictions include:
- Travel: Sometimes, registered sex offenders are required to stay in a specific location or obtain permission to take a trip beyond their home state.
- Residency: There are limited options for housing. Often, they must live a minimum distance from places like daycares, schools, playgrounds, and parks. Landlords and apartment buildings may not be inclined to accept these tenants due to their criminal history and inclusion on the sex offender registry.
- Community event: It’s common for registered sex offenders to be excluded from local schools and other community events – whether as a volunteer, participant or organizer.
- Employment: Employment restrictions bar registered sex offenders from some jobs. Additionally, some professional licensing boards, such as the Texas Board of Nursing, do not grant licenses to convicted sex offenders.
- Access to the internet: Sex offenders convicted of digital crimes like downloading and sharing child pornography online can be restricted from creating social media accounts. Sex offenders on probation or parole are often required to forgo internet access altogether.
- Contact with minors: If a sex offender’s crime involved a child victim, they are not allowed to reside with minors. Even if their only option for housing is to live with a family member who has children, they are not permitted to do so.
- Voting: Someone convicted of a felony sex offense could be stripped of their voting rights until they complete their probation or sex offender registry requirement.
- Owning a firearm: While not specific to the sex offender registry, those convicted of a felony lose their right to possess or transport firearms or ammunition.
- Whether you are charged with sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, or indecency, there is much at stake. Seasoned Fort Worth sexual assault lawyers can work with prosecutors to potentially have your charges reduced or dropped. If this is not possible, they will determine the best defense for your case and fight for you in court.
Charged with a Sex Crime? Call the Experienced Fort Worth Sexual Assault Lawyers
Suppose you’ve been charged with a sexual offense. In that case, you need representation from the experienced Fort Worth sexual assault lawyers at the Cofer Luster Law Firm as soon as possible. Call us at 682-777-3336 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today.