Law Changes Expand Sex Offender Reporting
Recent changes to the sex offender registration laws in Texas have now made it very important to know that some people who had convictions from decades ago may mistakenly believe they are now free from registration. Texas law is even more firm on the timeframe that applies to sex offender registration.
- If an individual had adjudication or conviction for a prior offense that occurred on or after September 1, 1970, then they only needed to register if the person was in the registration system on or after September 1, 1997.
- With the law change, now anyone with an adjudication or conviction on or after September 1, 1970, MUST register regardless of whether he or she was in the registration system as of September 1, 1997.
Texas classifies sex offenders by their risk to society. Offenders are classified as low, moderate, or high risk. The Risk Assessment Review Committee evaluates the criminal histories of sex offenders and predicts the likelihood of a subsequent offense in order to determine the offender’s risk level. Low-risk offenders have a lower chance of re-offending, while high-risk offenders pose a greater danger to the community. sex offenders are required to register with their local law enforcement agency and must provide their personal information, such as their name, address, and place of employment. sex offenders must also notify their local law enforcement agency if they move to a new address.
Sex offenders who fail to comply with the sex offender registration requirements can be charged with a felony offense.
Sex Offender Classifications in Texas
Level one: Sex offenders classified under this level are low-risk offenders that pose the lowest potential threat to public safety. The court believes that the risk of the offender committing another sex offense is significantly low.
Level two: Sex offenders in this category pose a moderate threat to their community, and there is a reasonable chance of repeat offenses.
Level three: Sex offenders in this category are considered a danger to the community. Such offenders might engage in more unlawful sexual conduct or possess previous convictions of severe sex crimes. Usually, individuals guilty of sex crimes involving minors will fall into this category.
Civil Commitment: Sex offenders who committed serious violent sexual offenses because of a behavioral abnormality fall under this category. They undergo outpatient treatments, and a law enforcement agency supervises their progress. Depending on the crime, the registration period for a Texas sex offender will be for a ten-year duration of the rest of the offender’s life. Usually, violent sex crimes involving minors include lifetime registration.
In Texas, sex offenders that committed sex crimes against minors are subject to residency restrictions. They cannot visit or even live in a location within 500 feet of a minor safety zone, which includes: youth centers, daycare facilities, public playgrounds, public parks, and schools.
Sex offenders who are regarded as child predators could be barred from having contact with any minor, either electronically or physically. They are also banned from taking part in sports, cultural, or civic community activities that involve minors ages seventeen years or younger.
With the availability of an internet connection, there may be internet restrictions imposed on individuals convicted of sex offenses that were committed using the internet. The court can restrict the convicted person’s access to certain websites or social media networks.
If a person is convicted of felony criminal charges for a sex offense the Texas Penal Code also revokes their right to vote or own a firearm until the completion of their incarceration sentence and their parole or probation period.