How to Register as a Sex Offender in Texas
March 7th, 2016 by Tad Nelson in Sex Crime
Like most states, Texas maintains an extensive system for the registration and notification of sex offenders. Actually, this is not only applicable to sex crimes such as rape and sexual abuse. Texas law requires registration for persons convicted of wide variety of felonies, including prostitution, kidnapping, and burglary. If you have been convicted of an eligible felony, it is therefore important to understand how to register as a sex offender in order to avoid additional criminal penalties.
Who Must Register?
A person must register as a sex offender if they have a “reportable conviction or adjudication” for a sex crime or other eligible offense. This includes not only people convicted in Texas, but also anyone convicted of a sex offense in another state or federal court (including a military court martial) who currently lives or works in Texas. In many cases, an individual will be expressly required to register as a sex offender as a condition of parole or release to mandatory or community supervision.
Where Does a Sex Offender Register?
Although the sex offender registry is a statewide program, the actual registration takes place at the local level. A sex offender living in a Texas city or municipality must register with the local chief of police. Similarly, a sex offender who lives outside of a municipality must register with the county sheriff.
When Does a Sex Offender Have to Register?
If a sex offender plans to reside within a given municipality or county for more than seven days, registration is required by either seventh day following the person’s arrival or the first day that local law enforcement permits registration, whichever is later.
What Information Is Required for Registration?
Among other items, a sex offender must provide local law enforcement with the following personal information:
- Basic biographical and physical data, including name, date of birth, sex, height, weight, and eye and hair color;
- Government identification data, including Social Security number and driver’s license number;
- Geographic data, including not only the registrant’s home address but also the location of any workplace;
- Biometric data, including a current digital photograph and a complete set of fingerprints; and
- Legal data, including a description of the sex offense or other eligible crime the person was convicted of, together with their discharge status (i.e., are they on parole, community supervision, et cetera) and information related to the age of any victims.
The above list is not exhaustive, and Texas law enforcement officials may require additional information not specifically contained in the sex offender registration law.
What Are the Penalties for Failing to Register?
Failure to register as a sex offender is a felony in Texas. The degree and severity of the punishment will depend on the exact nature of the person’s reporting requirements. But it is never advisable to delay or avoid registration.
This is only a brief overview of the Texas sex offender registration system. If you have been charged with, or convicted of, an offense that might require you to register as a sex offender, it is important you seek assistance from a Houston sex offender registration lawyer as soon as possible. Contact the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates if you need to speak with a Houston sex attorney today.