Being convicted of a sex crime doesn’t just mean you have a criminal history. It also means you will be required to register as a sex offender in Texas and anywhere else you move to if convicted of any of the statutory designated offenses and for the period prescribed by that offense.
This registration allows the public to look up your personal and criminal history information which too often can complicate your search for employment, your social life, and even finding a place to live.
If convicted of certain sex crimes, you must register as a sex offender. Failure to do so is another stand alone felony.
But what crimes will put you on the registry? Here’s what you need to know.
The Sex Offender Registry: What Is It?
In Texas, anyone convicted of a sex crime that is eligible for the sex offender registry must register with the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Offenders are put into different risk level categories depending on the threat they pose to the community: low risk, moderate risk, or high risk. Low-risk offenders are deemed unlikely to offend again while high-risk offenders pose a threat to commit a sexually based offense in the future.
A person on the registry has to provide personal information that is then made available to the public such as:
- Date of birth
- Physical description
- Details about the conviction that placed them on the registry
What Crimes Require Sex Offender Registration?
In Texas, a conviction of certain sex crimes demands registration as a sex offender.
How long the registration lasts depends on the nature of the offense. Registration may be for life if convicted of the following crimes:
- Sexual assault
- Compelling child prostitution
- Continuous sexual abuse of a child
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Continuous child or human trafficking
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Child trafficking leading to or involving a sex crime
- Sexual performance by a child
- Indecency with a child
- Possession or promotion of child pornography or obscene material of child under age 18
Lifetime registration for a sex offender for life may also occur if the offender has multiple convictions of indecent exposure involving a child or kidnapping/unlawful restraint of a child under 17.
Finally, some sex crimes will require the defendant to register for a period of 10 years, including:
- Conspiracy to commit an attempt of a sex crime that requires registration
- Indecent exposure involving a child (first offense)
- Statutory rape of a minor under 17 (Texas age of consent)
- Indecent exposure involving an adult (second offense)
- Solicitation of a minor online
What Happens If You Fail to Register?
If you are convicted of a crime that requires registration as a sex offender, and you fail to do so, then you can be charged with a felony. Any jail time the judge may order depends on the underlying crime for which you were supposed to register.
For example, if you are convicted of a crime that required lifetime registration and don’t register, you can be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison. If you were convicted of a crime that required you to register as a sex offender for 10 years, then you can face two additional years behind bars for failing to register.