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Can I Be Forced to Leave My Home Because of a Sex Offense?

Published: Sep 26, 2016 in Criminal Defense, Sex Crimes

You may be forced to move away from home if you have to register as a sex offender in Texas. Whether or not you have to move depends on the conditions of your parole and where you live. The Texas Sex Offender Registration Program does not have residency limitations itself. However, Texas parole laws and many local communities do.

A large number of Texas counties or cities have created “child safety zones” where individuals who are required to register as sex offenders cannot live. If you live in one of these zones when you are required to register, you will need to move. If you are not sure of whether there is a child safety zone where you live or whether this rule applies to you, call Houston sex crimes defense attorney Ned Barnett at (713) 222-6767.

Child Safety Zones on Parole

If you have been convicted of a sex crime in Texas, you may be required to abide by child safety zones upon release from prison in Texas. The restrictions are supervised by the Board of Pardons and Paroles (BPP), but additional restrictions can be made by the municipality.

A child safety zone requirement includes staying at least 500 feet away or more from where children commonly gather, including schools, daycares, playgrounds, youth centers, and arcades. This restriction also means you cannot supervise or participate in any program like community sports or cultural groups that have participants 17 years old and younger.

As a registered offender, you may be required to stay out of child safety zones if you were convicted of:

  • Aggravated kidnapping with intent to violate or abuse sexually
  • Trafficking a person or benefiting from a venture with the intent or knowledge that the victim would engage in sexual conduct
  • Continuous sexual abuse of a young child or children
  • Indecency with a child
  • Sexual assault
  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • Prohibited sexual conduct
  • Burglary of a habitation with intent to commit a sex offense
  • Compelling prostitution
  • Sexual performance by a child
  • Possession or promotion of child pornography

Reasons You May Have to Move

The conditions on registered sex offenders differ based on the sentences and residency location. You may have to move if you live:

  • Too close to a school
  • Too close to another place where children congregate, such as a public pool or park
  • With a victim of your crime
  • With children

Minors living with their parents or guardians when they are convicted of a sex offense that requires sex offender registration may still be required to move. Depending on the situation, this may force parents to move with their child or to find the minor in a living situation away from the family.

A Houston Sex Crimes Defense Attorney Can Help

Some justice advocacy groups are going after small towns and cities that have enacted strict limitations on sex offenders. They argue that there is no evidence that strict child safety zone bans are helpful, but that they create other problems for individuals required to register, law enforcement, and the criminal justice system. While some of these restrictions have been repealed in Texas, many people are still required to pick up and move. This can mean leaving family, friends, and an entire community behind.

If you have been convicted of a sex crime that requires registration and you are not sure of where you can live, call the Law Offices of Ned Barnett at (713) 222-6767 immediately.