5 Reasons Houston Sex Offenders Fail To RegisterPublished: Apr 06, 2021 in Sex Crimes, Sex Crimes Involving Children
In Texas, those who’ve been convicted of sex crimes must register as sex offenders. This registry is available to the public. And those who must register are subject to seemingly endless rules about when, how, and how often they have to register.
Here’s the big problem: Failing to register is a crime. You or a loved one might even be subject to a felony charge for a simple mistake. So let’s take a look at some of the common reasons Houston sex offenders fail to register and their options when it happens.
Why Sex Offenders Fail To Register
Sadly, many Texans who’ve already done their time for a sex offense end up with another criminal charge for failing to register. The reasons for this vary, but it is another felony that could send you back behind bars.
1. Forgetting to Register After Your Release
After you get out of jail or prison for a sex crime, you have to register as a sex offender. But because so many people who just got out of prison are so focused on getting back to their lives, this requirement often gets overlooked.
This can result in a state jail felony, third-degree felony, or second-degree felony, depending on your original offense’s registration requirements.
2. Failing To Register After Moving
If your address changes, you have to register again or verify your information with the appropriate law enforcement agencies. This requirement is easy to get wrong. Why? Because Texas requires sex offenders to notify their local law enforcement of a move seven days before it happens. Then, no later than a week after you arrive at your new address, you must notify the new local agency.
That’s two chances to fail to register and get charged with a crime – all while you’re trying to move.
3. Not Updating Your Registration When It Changes
Your address isn’t the only thing law enforcement wants to know when you register as a sex offender. They also want to know your employment status, where you work, your vehicle type and registration, your probation status, and many other details.
When any of these details change, you have to update your sex offender registration. It’s easy to forget to update your registration after some of these items change. When you’ve just bought a new car, registering as a sex offender is likely the last thing you are thinking about.
4. Visiting Somewhere for Too Long
If you live in Houston but visit your mother in Austin and stay for more than a week, you could be in trouble. That’s because Texas requires sex offenders to notify law enforcement if you stay at any other address for more than a week.
5. Not Checking in Often Enough
Depending on the nature of the crime, your criminal history, and other details, you must verify your registration details and check-in with law enforcement at specified intervals. These can range from every 90 days to every year.
But life gets busy. Days turn into months quickly. You could miss your deadline to verify, and then you could be charged with a felony.
Can a Lawyer Help With Failing to Register?
An experienced criminal defense lawyer can do a lot to help if you’re charged with failing to register as a sex offender. Like any other criminal charge, you are entitled to a defense. An attorney can build that defense, help clear up any misunderstandings, and facilitate sex offender registration compliance.
For instance, your lawyer may be able to show that you did, in fact, register properly, but the authorities made a mistake. Or we may be able to show that you attempted to register in good faith but made a mistake yourself. This could result in a charge reduction, lesser penalties, or a dismissal.
No matter the case, a lawyer can advise you of your next steps. There is almost always a viable defense for failing to register as a sex offender.
Contact The Law Offices of Ned Barnett
If you have been charged with failing to register as a sex offender in Houston, you need to act quickly. You can’t simply wait and hope this will all go away. It won’t. A trusted defense lawyer can help you deal with this situation quickly and effectively. And hopefully, that will mean that you don’t have to go back to jail or prison.