Long-term consequences of a child sex offense charge in Texas
Child sex offense convictions are some of the most devastating criminal punishment in Texas. In addition to facing substantial prison time, sex offenders face some of the most severe penalties of all criminal offenders in America.
Continue reading to learn what a sex offense charge might cost you.
One of the most well-known restrictions for child sex offenders is the rule regarding where you can live. Texas law § 508.187 prevents registered sex offenders from living near a child safety zone. These include schools, day care centers, youth centers and athletic facilities for children. Sex offenders also can't live within a certain distance of the minor victim in their case.
There are also significant restrictions on what you can do and what activities you are allowed to engage in. For instance, most registered child sex offenders cannot join athletic, civic or cultural activities that involve minors. In most cases, they also cannot go anywhere near schools, playgrounds, public swimming pools or video arcades.
Limited employment and career options
With a sex offense conviction, your career options are immediately limited. Teaching certification applications are handled on a case by case basis, and it is difficult (sometimes impossible) for an applicant with a sex offense to get approved.
Even if you are approved, finding a school to hire you is a challenge to say the least. Having a child sex offense conviction on your record is similarly challenging if you wish to work at or own a daycare. Even medical professionals and attorneys must pass certain character requirements, and a sex offense conviction can stand in the way of getting any sort of state license.
Sex offender registration
If found guilty and convicted of a sex offense, a defendant will have to join the Texas Sex Offender Registry. Texas law requires parole officers to make the convicted person register as part of their release from custody and re-register with local law enforcement each time they move. Registered sex offenders must also periodically verify that your address is still good.
Sex offenders must also provide a DNA sample to law enforcement. Law enforcement keeps this information in a database to check as they investigate crimes. Not only is this a significant deprivation of freedom, but it can also lead to false charges in the future.
Texas law prohibits sex offenders from lawfully possessing a firearm for a period of time after their incarceration or probation. For both felony and class A misdemeanor offenses, a person with a conviction cannot lawfully possess a firearm for five years after they're released from jail or from probation or parole, whichever is later.
In the case of a felony conviction, even after the five-year period passes, the convicted person can only have the firearm at their residence.
If you are a sex offender and in the country illegally, you may face deportation. You can face severe penalties if you try to re-enter the country illegally.
Other conditions of release
Sex offenders can find themselves subject to a long list of additional conditions for supervised release. These conditions can include:
- No internet. Offenders may not be allowed to use the internet after your conviction. They may also have restrictions that are specific to social media.
- Mandatory treatment. Lawmakers and the courts often believe that sex offenders need treatment. For that reason, sex offenders may have significant counseling requirements as part of their release. They will likely have counseling specific to sex offenders, and may also have to go to counseling to address substance abuse or other concerns. The payment for these mandatory services will come out of the defendant’s pocket.
- No contact orders. Offenders will probably be restricted from having contact with the victim until their supervision ends completely. This means avoiding any kind of communication with the victim. They will also likely have orders that prevent them from going to the victim’s home or work.
Defending against child sex offense charges
With the severity of penalties for a sex crime conviction in Texas, you owe it to yourself to do everything that you can to defend yourself to the fullest extent of the law if you stand accused. This is a serious matter. The consequences of a sex crime conviction are enough to change your life forever.
If you are facing a sex offense charge, contact Houston sex offense crime attorney Neal Davis and his skilled legal team for a free evaluation of your case.