Houston Criminal Defense Blog

Crimes Which Require Sex Offender Registration

Not all offenses that are sexual in nature require registration, as Texas courts recognize that not all offenders pose a danger to society. Even so, there are some far-reaching consequences for those who are accused of sex crimes, even if the allegations are false.

Mandatory Offenses

Individuals must register if they have been convicted of one of the following offenses after September 1, 1970:

  • Aggravated kidnapping that involves actual or intended sexual battery
  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • Burglary, when coupled with sexual assault
  • Compelling prostitution
  • Continuous sexual abuse of children
  • Indecency with a child
  • Indecent exposure (second or higher offense)
  • Possession or promotion of child pornography
  • Prohibited sexual contact
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual performance by a child

Active duty service members prosecuted for an above offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) may also be required to register under Texas law. Offenders are not normally required to register while serving a prison sentence. Individuals will be notified whether or not they need to register prior to their release. If required, the reporting period will begin upon release.

Offenses That Do Not Require Registration

Certain “sex crimes” do not necessarily warrant registration, including:

  • Indecent exposure (first offense)
  • Lewdness
  • Statutory rape

Reporting Requirements

Not all reportable offenses have the same reporting requirements. Some may require the offender to report for a period of ten years, after which time registry is no longer necessary. Others may have a lifetime reporting requirement with an additional stipulation being that the individual must update the registry every 90 days. Reporting requirements depend upon the nature of the offense, age of the victim and the previous criminal history of the perpetrator, among other things.

Consequences of Sex Offender Registry

Registered sex offenders have a more difficult time than others when it comes to finding work. A 2011 study performed on 330 registered sex offenders in Tulsa revealed that nearly 40% of them were unemployed, disabled or retired. Sex offenders are generally prohibited from working with any business that provides services to children, including ice cream trucks. In some areas, they may be banned from working within a certain distance of schools or other areas where children regularly congregate.

Police also report that registered sex offenders may be at a higher than average risk of committing other crimes because housing for sex offenders is greatly restricted. Having limited options for housing and employment leaves many people on the streets, and may actually make them even more of a burden to society than they were before.

Consequences of Failing to Register

Failing to register as a sex offender is a felony charge in Texas, with the degree of felony depending on the length of reporting. The different degrees of felony are:

  • State jail felony for those with a ten-year reporting requirement
  • Third-degree felony for individuals required to register for life
  • Second-degree felony for lifetime registrants that also have a 90-day reporting requirement

Depending on the type of felony, those who fail to register could face:

  • Between 180 days and 20 years in prison
  • Fine of up to $10,000

Prevalence of False Accusations

Although the idea behind sex offender registry is to protect the public, the fact is that a good number of registered offenders are not a threat to others because they are simply not guilty. The National Coalition for Men estimates that anywhere from 9 to 60 percent of all men accused of rape are actually innocent. Furthermore, a study showed that from 2003 to 2007, 31 percent of all sexual assault claims investigated by the Ottawa, Ontario police department were later determined never to have happened.

Consequences of Being Falsely Accused in Texas

Even if charges are dismissed, being falsely accused of a sex crime can have a devastating effect on a person’s life. He or she may find it difficult to obtain employment, attend college or start a business. Social relationships may also become strained because people find it hard to trust that person. Some people will even face financial difficulties due to a lack of work and the additional financial burden of paying sex offender registry fees and other court-related costs.

The Stakes Are High

The stakes are high for anyone who accused of a sex crime that requires registration. To avoid far-reaching consequences, those who are charged with such an offense should seek immediate assistance from a criminal defense attorney who will aggressively fight to preserve the rights of his client. If you have been accused, then reach out to an experienced sex crimes attorney today.

Categories: Sex Crimes