Houston Criminal Defense Blog

What Can’t Sex Offenders Do in Texas?

Jail

In Texas, those convicted of sex crimes face consequences long after their prison sentence has been served. Individuals who are required to register as sex offenders may have additional stipulations on their movements, and be restricted from performing certain other activities. If you’ve been accused of a sex crime, it’s important to know the long-term limitations you could be faced with if found guilty.

Residency Restrictions

One of the biggest restrictions sex offenders face involves where they may live. Texas law currently prohibits registered sex offenders from living or even visiting a residence that is within 500 feet of a “child safety zone.” A child safety zone is considered any place where children frequently gather, and can include:

  • Schools
  • Parks
  • Youth Centers
  • Athletic Fields
  • Day Care Centers

Certain areas also have their own limitations on where sex offenders may live. For example, nearby Baytown recently enacted an ordinance that makes it illegal for a registered sex offender to live within 1,500 feet of a school, public park, playground or video arcade. The new law also makes it a crime to rent such a property to a registered sex offender. Those who were already residing in one of these areas are exempt from punishment under the new law.

Employment Location Restrictions

The location where individuals may work is also restricted, since registered sex offenders may not even visit locations that are within a certain distance of “child safety zones.” This means that an individual is prohibited from seeking employment from any business located in one of these areas. The Texas Sex Offender Registry also provides information about where offenders work in order to ensure location restrictions are not violated.

In Texas, those convicted of sex crimes face consequences long after their prison sentence has been served. Individuals who are required to register as sex offenders may have additional stipulations on their movements, and be restricted from performing certain other activities. If you’ve been accused of a sex crime, it’s important to know the long-term limitations you could be faced with if found guilty.

Occupational Restrictions

Texas law does not specifically prohibit registered sex offenders from holding certain occupations. Even so, licensing agencies may deny professional licenses to offenders in certain occupations. The decision to deny a license is up to each agency’s own discretion. A few occupations sex offenders may be denied entry into include:

  • Day care operator
  • Teacher
  • Coach
  • Physician

Employers may also develop their own criteria for employment, and can therefore determine that hiring a sex offender would not be in the best interests of their business. As such, many entities such as restaurants and retail outlets that regularly serve the public often shy away from hiring registered sex offenders.

Voting Privileges

Those found guilty of a felony sex offense will be unable to vote while they are still on parole or probation. Once released, an individual is then eligible to vote, even if he or she is still required to register as a sex offender.

Other Restrictions

There may be other restrictions on the activities of Texas sex offenders once they are released from jail. A few of these restrictions may be:

  • Limited or no Internet access
  • Having movement restricted to only within a certain area
  • Restricted contact with minors or the victim
  • Being unable to own or purchase firearms
  • Regular drug and alcohol screening

Some offenders will be required to serve a probation sentence after being released. Probation could result in regular home visits to ensure the terms of it are being met. Individuals will also be required to find employment or attend a vocational training program to prepare them for future work. Mandatory sex offender counseling could also be required unless such a program was completed while incarcerated.

Advocacy Urged

Many people believe the current sex offender laws are too restrictive and make it more likely an individual will commit another crime due to lack of employment opportunities. Advocates argue that contrary to popular belief, sex offenders are less likely than others to reoffend in the same category, and therefore are not as dangerous to society as everyone fears. Victim’s rights groups on the other hand continue to place pressure on lawmakers to restrict the movement of sex offenders even more so that others in turn do not become victims.

Seek Legal Counsel

If you’ve been accused of a sex crime, there could be far-reaching consequences if you are ordered to register as a sex offender. To avoid these consequences, which can greatly affect every aspect of your life, it’s important to seek counsel as soon as possible. Fighting for your innocence is something that should not be taken lightly.

Contact a experienced sex crimes attorney Billy Skinner today! We will work hard to protect your rights and future.

Photo Joseph Kranak | Used under Creative Commons image attribution license 2.0

Categories: Sex Crimes