If you were convicted of a sex crime in another state and had to register as a sex offender there, should you register as a sex offender in Texas if you moved to this state?
The answer is: Probably, but not necessarily.
First keep in mind that, while all states have requirements for those convicted of certain sex crimes to register formally as a sex offender, requirements vary from state to state. Your sex crime in one state might not require you to register as a sex offender in Texas.
Even so, according to sex offender registry laws enacted by Texas’ legislature in 1991, if you had to register as a sex offender in another state and then moved to Texas, you have to register as a sex offender in Texas, too, if:
- You work, live or attend school in Texas
- Your conviction was a reportable conviction or adjudication
The second element is key.
According to the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Chapter 62, a reportable conviction or adjudication exists when the crime involves one of a number of offenses.
- sexual assault
- aggravated sexual assault
- prohibited sexual conduct
- possession or promotion of child pornography
- compelling prostitution
- indecency with a child
- continuous sexual abuse of a young child
- sexual performance by a child
- online solicitation of a minor
- unlawful restraint
- trafficking of persons
- indecent exposure
- aggravated kidnapping
- some burglary offenses
A reportable conviction in Texas also includes comparable crimes in other states.
As for the requirement that you work, live or attend school in Texas, that doesn’t mean you must be a formal resident of Texas. You still may pay income taxes as a formal resident of another state.
However, if you moved to Texas from another state where you were registered as a sex offender, and if you then worked or went to school in Texas, you’d have to register as a sex offender in Texas, too, again provided that the sex crime was comparable in Texas.
Registering as a sex offender is too severe of a punishment to accept blindly. In Texas it can mean registering for 10 years or for life, all while having your name on public records as a sex offender, along with your address and other information about you. It also means you give up certain rights, such a firearm possession.
So when you move to Texas, keep in mind that it doesn’t mean for certain you’re required to register as a sex offender here, even if you are registered in another state. It’s not automatic.
Contact an experienced sex crime defense lawyer with the Neal Davis Law Firm to find out where you stand. Then, if you’re required to register as a sex offender in Texas, your defense attorney can help you through that process.
The Texas Department of Public Safety also has more information via its Texas Sex Offender Registration Program.
So get the facts, and know what you must do. Adhering to sex offender registration processes is vital, since failing to register is a felony crime punishable by high fines and lengthy prison sentences. So don’t delay.
Contact a sex crime defense lawyer today for help with your case.