When you are required to register as a sex offender after completing a prison sentence, you will still face a number of restrictions on your freedom. Where these restrictions come from and how they are supervised and enforced will differ. Some restrictions are attached to the requirement to register as a sex offender and last until you can deregister, if that is possible. Other limitations are attached to your community supervision, also known as probation. The conditions only last for the duration of your sentence. There will be state laws that apply no matter where you live in Texas and there are county, city, or town regulations that only apply to you when you live in a specific place.
To learn more about sex offender restrictions, contact a Houston child sex crimes lawyer from The Law Offices of Ned Barnett. You must understand your rights and limitations to avoid additional criminal charges.
Call today at (713) 222-6767 to schedule a free consultation.
Living and Travel Restrictions
Once you have been placed on parole or probation as a registered sex offender in Texas, your movements – including moving homes and taking vacations – are potentially restricted and supervised. If you want to visit another county for more than one week, you will need to register with that jurisdiction’s law enforcement agency. If you want to move, attend school in, or work in another county or state, you will also need to register with that new area’s police. You must notify the law enforcement agency with your current registration of any changes.
You will also face more specific living restrictions. Texas law prohibits sex offenders who had a minor victim, who are on probation, parole, or mandatory supervision from living in or visiting a residence within 500 feet of a child safety zone. This includes schools, day care facilities, parks, playgrounds, youth centers, sports field, and more. However, this is generally not a requirement once you are finished with your supervision.
You could also have to obey a municipal ordinance in regard to where you can live, work, or go. Some municipalities throughout Texas have tougher laws in regard to living near facilities and areas that usually have children.
Community Involvement Limitations
Child safety zones can apply to you outside of where you live. If you are still under court supervision, then you are not allowed to be involved with civic, cultural, or athletic programs that include children 17 years old and younger. You also cannot participate in programs that meet on or near parks or schools.
At first glance, you may not think this will matter if you are not interested in joining any community organizations. However, child safety zone restrictions can apply to situations you may not have considered. This law means you may miss family events. For instance, you will not be allowed to attend your children’s or young relative’s soccer games or ballet recitals. You may not be able to join your coworker’s bowling league if there are usually children at the bowling alley or within the same facility. You may not be able to play pickup games of basketball for exercise in your local park.
A sex offense conviction can bar you from a number of professions and obtaining various professional licenses. You are unlikely to be licensed or hired for positions within schools, day care centers, sports, medical facilities, or law firms. You may also not be able to work in restaurants or stores since businesses that serve the public are often uncomfortable hiring sex offenders.
Even if Texas law does not entirely prohibit you from working in a specific profession, that industry’s licensing board may. For example, when seeking to sit for the Texas bar exam or obtain your law license, the state may not find your background appropriate for the profession and block you from becoming a lawyer.
You can also have a difficult job finding work due to where you will have to go for the job. If the job would require you to travel to or through child safety zones, you cannot take it on.
You may face limited or zero Internet access after a sex conviction, particularly if you used the Internet during your crime or a victim of your crime was a minor. Internet access may be restricted in such a way that you are not allowed to go to certain types of websites or you may not be entitled to create and use social media accounts. In more extreme circumstances, you may be prohibited from using a computer with an Internet connection at all.
No Contact With Minors
If you were convicted of a child sex crime, you may be prohibited from having any contact with minors, whether in person, over the phone, or through the Internet. This can include strangers, family members, and your friends’ children. This can even make it impossible to live with your family if there are children in the home.
Revocation of Voting Rights
If you are convicted of a felony sex offense, you will not be able to vote until you have completed your entire sentence, including parole or probation. Once you finish all of your incarceration and supervision, then you are eligible to vote again. The additional requirement to register as a sex offender does not affect your voting rights.
Revocation of Right to Own Firearms
Under Texas law, your right to own a firearm is taken away after you are convicted of a felony. You will regain the right to own or possess a gun in your house on the fifth year anniversary of being finished with your sentence, including probation.
A Houston Sex Crimes Lawyer Can Help
Some of the restrictions placed on you as a registered sex offender create criminal liability. If you break the rule, you can have your probation revoked and be sent back to prison to finish your sentence. For example, if your Internet privileges are restricted, you can be incarcerated for using the Internet beyond what is allowed. You can also be charged with an entirely new crime. If you move from one county to another without notifying both appropriate law enforcement agencies, you can be charged with the offense of failing to register.
If you have been convicted of a sex offense, it is crucial that you understand your rights and the restrictions placed upon you once you are back in your community. Any confusion can lead to drastic and harsh consequences.