Do you face formal sex offender status after being charged with a sex crime? If so, sex offender registration is serious and can impact where you live, where you work — even if you work. So you may wonder: Once a sex offender, always a sex offender?
Our answer to you is: Maybe not.
Though some sex crime punishments in Texas call for lifelong registration as a sex offender, others do not. Sex offender registration instead may last for 10 years. Or, you may be able to avoid registering as a sex offender thanks to what’s known as “individual risk assessment.”
This process involves a state court examining your criminal record to judge whether or not you’re likely to commit a sex crime again and remain a danger to the public.
Article 62.403, Chapter 2 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure holds that an individual risk assessment can be gained after filing a motion with the trial court. In cases where the motion is granted and the risk is assessed, early termination of sex offender registration can be achieved.
Otherwise, Chapter 62 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, which outlines the Texas Sex Offender Registration Program, requires sex offenders to register with their local law enforcement. Their name, address, photo and the nature of their sex offense then all become public record.
If you fail to comply with sex offender registration rules, your probation can be revoked, a warrant for your arrest can be issued and new charges can be filed.
If you do comply, how long will it last?
For an adult sex offender — someone 17 or older in Texas — sex offender registration lasts for life or for 10 years. The 10-year period doesn’t start until after any prison time has been served, or after the offender is discharged from parole, state supervision or community supervision.
Whether sex offender status lasts for 10 years or for life depends on the nature of the sex crime. If you’re convicted of a sex crime involving violence, a child or both, sex offender registration will last for life.
That’s Texas law when the offense is such things as sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, sexual performance by a child, continuous sexual abuse of a child, indecency with a child by contact, trafficking of persons, compelling prostitution by a minor, possession or promotion of child pornography and indecency with a child by exposure.
On the other hand, you may have a 10-year registration as a sex offender, instead of lifetime, when the offense is such things as: indecent exposure second offense, indecency with a child, online solicitation of a minor, and prostitution if the solicited person is under 18.
Do juvenile sex offenders under 17 face the same sex offender registration? Not necessarily. They often are allowed to register as sex offenders for 10 years after disposition of their case or after completing terms of the disposition, whichever is later.
Yet even some juveniles are compelled to register as a sex offender for life, particularly when the nature of their crime would bring lifetime registration for an adult as well.
Another way to avoid having to register as a sex offender is to avoid being convicted of a sex crime charge. That may mean engaging an experienced Texas sex crime defense lawyer such as those at the Neal Davis Law Firm.
Contact us today for a confidential legal review of your case. We may be able to get your sex crime charge reduced or even dropped, as we have for other clients, who then avoided jail time and having to register as a sex offender.