Texas sex offender registration is a heavy burden to bear — especially after being convicted for a sex crime that you did not commit. Regardless of your innocence, your friends, family, and colleagues may no longer look at you in the same way. You may even find yourself excluded from some social activities and professional events.
The Law Offices of Ned Barnett can help. We can fight your sex crime charges so that you won’t have to register as a sex offender. Call us at (713) 222-6767 or contact us online for a free consultation.
When Do I Need to Register as a Sex Offender and What Does it Involve?
If you’re convicted of any of the following crimes, you will need to register as a sex offender in Texas:
- Indecency with child by exposure— Texas Penal Code section 21.11(a)(2)
- Prohibited sexual conduct (incest) — Texas Penal Code section 25.02
- Second conviction for indecent exposure — Texas Penal Code section 21.08
- Compelling prostitution — Texas Penal Code section 43.05
- Possession or promotion of child pornography — Texas Penal Code section 43.26
For the following crimes, which are deemed violent offenses, you will need to follow even more stringent registration requirements:
- Indecency with a child by contact — Texas Penal Code section 21.11(a)(1)
- Sexual assault — Texas Penal Code section 22.011
- Aggravated sexual assault — Texas Penal Code section 22.021
- Sexual performance by a child — Texas Penal Code section 43.25
- Aggravated kidnapping with intent to commit a sex offense — Texas Penal Code section 20.04(a)(4)
- Burglary with intent to commit sex offense — Texas Penal Code section 30.02
It’s important to understand that you may be required to register as a sex offender in Texas even if your conviction was in another state.
What Are the Texas Sex Offender Registration Requirements?
The first step in the sex offender registration process is meeting with local law enforcement, filling out the sex offender registration form, and providing fingerprints and photographs. This must be done in every community in which the offender intends to reside for more than a week. This enables local law enforcement to make public announcements that a sex offender lives in the community—but these announcements will not include the offender’s name or photograph.
Normally, sex offenders must verify their registration with law enforcement agencies once per year. But those who have committed violent offenses or who have at least two convictions must report every 90 days. In any case, all sex offenders must report a change of address to their supervising officers and law enforcement agencies 7 days before they move.
Most sex offenders must continue to register themselves for 10 years following their conviction. But for those convicted of a violent offense, life-long registration is the norm.
Is it Possible to Be Removed from the Sex Offenders List?
In 2005 and 2011, Texas passed laws creating and clarifying the procedure through which some sex offenders could apply for the early termination of their sex offender registration requirement. The list of offenses eligible for early termination is vast, and includes any crime for which the length of registration under Texas law exceeds the registration time mandated by federal law. The full list of eligible offenses can be viewed here: https://records.txdps.state.tx.us/SexOffender/SORNA_2015June.pdf
The applicant must have no more than one conviction for an offense requiring sex offender registration, and must be deemed to no longer present a continuing threat to society. Specifically, the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Council on Sex Offender Treatment for Deregistration Evaluation will make this determination based on information submitted by the applicant, including:
- Court documents from the case
- Criminal background checks
- Documentation of the successful completion of a sex offender treatment program
Once the Council determines that the applicant is qualified for deregistration, he or she must submit to an evaluation by a licensed sex offender deregistration specialist, who will assess the likelihood that the applicant will re-offend. If successful at this stage, the applicant must next file a petition in the court where he or she or was originally convicted, requesting the early termination of the sex offender registration requirement. Judges are under no obligation to rule favorably on these petitions—even if the applicant meets all of the requirements.
Fighting Your Sex Crime Charges is the Best Way to Avoid Registration
The process for deregistering from the sex offenders list is long, complicated, and often unsuccessful. For this reason, the best way to avoid being on a sex offender’s list is to not have a sex crime conviction in the first place. If you’ve been charged with a sex crime, you owe it to yourself to hire the best Houston sex crimes lawyer you can find to work on your case.
In any criminal case, the prosecution must prove every aspect of their case in order to obtain a guilty verdict. A skillful criminal defense lawyer can show there is reasonable doubt as to your guilt by:
- Presenting evidence or witness testimony that shows or suggests your innocence
- Challenging the admissibility of the prosecution’s evidence
- Offering alternative interpretations of the prosecution’s evidence against you
- Cross examining the prosecution’s witness to demonstrate that they have an ulterior motive to testify against you, or that their recollections about the alleged sex crime are incorrect
In his more than 30 years as a legal professional, Houston sex crimes defense lawyer Ned Barnett has successfully defended the interests of dozens of clients facing sex crime charges. With exceptional knowledge of criminal procedure in Texas and outstanding trial advocacy skills, Ned Barnett is the top choice for people who want to avoid the penalties of a criminal conviction.
Not only does Barnett have significant experience defending people accused of crimes, he also has several years of experience as a state and federal prosecutor that gives him valuable insight into how prosecutors build cases — and how to craft strong arguments in your defense. Additionally, Barnett is board certified as a criminal defense attorney by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Contact the Law Offices of Ned Barnett today at (713) 222-6767 to schedule an appointment with a top Houston criminal defense lawyer.