Consequences of Being a Convicted Sex Offender in Texas

Perhaps no other criminal charges result in as much ridicule or negative stigma for offenders as sex crimes. While the penalties (including prison time) are notably harsh for those convicted of sex crimes, there are numerous restrictions even after serving time or completing community supervision. 

The Sex Offender Registry

Texans who have been convicted of an eligible sex crime must register themselves for the state Public Sex Offender Website, which is informally referred to as the registry. The website lists information on each sex offender living in Texas. This information includes an offender’s address, full legal name, head shot, physical description, crime details, and risk level (low, moderate, and high risks of re-offending). Many sex crimes require lifetime registration, while others only warrant a 10-year registration. Those on the registry must regularly re-verify their information and inform local law enforcement when they move residences. 

Collateral Consequences

“Collateral” consequences of convictions are consequences that are not directly related to criminal penalties, and there are plenty of collateral consequences for sex offenders. Convicted felons are not allowed to own firearms or vote for a period after you satisfy your criminal penalties. Certain crimes—especially felonies and crimes involving “moral turpitude”, which often applies to sex crimes—can make getting or renewing a professional license extremely difficult or impossible. 

Many sex offenders in Texas are severely limited in their living options. Certain sex crimes, including those involving minors, prohibit sex offenders from living or working within 500 feet of a child safety zone. Common examples of child safety zones are schools, daycare centers, parks, and playgrounds. In many instances, sex offenders are prohibited from living wherever minors also live. Plenty others are prohibited from having any contact with minors, even if the minors are family members. 

Another potential consequence of being on the Texas sex offender registry is the restrictions on internet access. Certain websites may be off limits, and complete bans on internet access sometimes apply to more severe offenders. In this modern age of technology and e-commerce, such a restriction could have a significant impact on a sex offender’s ability to earn an income.

Keep in mind that the restrictions covered in this blog generally apply to any sex offender under probation or parole in Texas. Depending on which type of supervision an offender is under, there could be even more restriction (or sometimes less). Individual cities and towns often have supplementary restrictions on sex offenders living or working within their jurisdictions. 

Texans convicted of one or more sex crimes have more to worry about than criminal penalties and collateral consequences; many offenders must regularly re-verify information with law enforcement or face felony charges. For instance, someone who’s required to register for 10 years might have to register for life if he fails to satisfy his parole requirements. The best way to avoid these restrictions, if charged of a sex crime, is to contact an experienced attorney like Charles A. Banker, III. Reach out as soon as you can so we can get started on your defense. 

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The Law Offices of Charles A. Banker, III

Our firm’s founder, Charles A. Banker III, has been a solo criminal defense practitioner with offices in Houston and McAllen, TX for over 30 years. He understands what it means to work independently in today’s hyperconnected world, but he also knows that sometimes you need to lean on others.

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