If you’ve been convicted of a sex crime in Texas, you want nothing more than to put your criminal history in the past. Unfortunately, you’ll be required to register as a sex offender.
You might even be subject to the registration law for life. If you fail to satisfy every detail of the sex offender registration requirements, you can be charged with a felony all over again.
To avoid additional jail time, you need a strong lawyer in your corner. At Edgett Law Firm, our Dallas failure to register as a sex offender lawyers have a reputation for success at trial. We have experience that you can count on when it matters most and stand ready to go to work for you.
If you’ve been charged with violating the sex offender registry laws, don’t hesitate. Call for a free consultation with an experienced failure to register as a sex offender lawyer in Dallas today.
Why You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender in Texas
It might seem like the sex offender registry requirements are only technical in nature. In reality, many people find that the registration requirements are more burdensome than the punishment itself. Penalties for violating the rules can be just as serious as the punishment you’ve already served for the underlying sex crime charges.
You need an experienced Dallas criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the Texas criminal justice system on your side. Our lawyers have decades of experience and a proven history of success. We’re well-versed in the complexities of the law and how to defend your rights in court.
Our experienced attorneys also know the local prosecutors. Not just any excuse will cut it, so we put in the hard work needed to build a strong, persuasive case to help minimize the consequences of the charges.
To learn more about why it’s so important to have an experienced attorney in your corner, give us a call for legal advice today. We take our attorney client relationships seriously and are ready to go to work in your case today.
Overview of the Texas Sex Offender Registry Rules
The Texas Sex Offender Registration Program is outlined in Chapter 62 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. If you intend to live in Texas for at least seven days, you have to alert local law enforcement and register in the city or county where you intend to reside.
Sex Offender Registration: What Type of Information is Disclosed?
If you’re subject to the sex offender registration rules, you must disclose certain information to local law enforcement. Under Section 62.051, that information may include:
- Your full name, Social Security number, date of birth, and basic identifying information (hair color, eye color, etc.)
- Any alias you’ve used in the past
- Your address and contact information (or a general description of the geographic location if you don’t have an address)
- Details about your conviction, including the date you were convicted, the age of the victim, and the punishment imposed
- Information about the conditions of your release (parole, community supervision, juvenile probation, etc.)
- Employment and educational details
This information is generally entered into a searchable database. However, Texas assigns a risk level to everyone who has been convicted of a sex offense. The most serious offenders are classified as a Level Three risk and are deemed to present an ongoing threat to the community.
Because of this perceived threat, the authorities will mail a postcard containing detailed information about the Level Three offender to businesses and residences in the community.
Sex Offender Registry: The Verification Requirements
Once you’ve registered as a sex offender, you must verify your information periodically. The default rule is that sex offenders are required to verify their registration information once every year.
The most serious offenders, who are designed as civilly committed sexually violent predators, must verify their information once every 30 days under Section 62.202. Certain repeat offenders and those who have committed violent sex crimes are required to verify every 90 days.
Offenses That Trigger the Registration Requirement
Only certain criminal convictions and adjudications trigger the sex offender registry requirement. You may be required to register based on a conviction, deferred adjudication or adjudication of delinquent conduct–in other words, the registration rules can kick in even if you’re awaiting appeal.
The following criminal offenses qualify as reportable convictions or adjudications:
- Sexual assault
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Indecency with a child
- Continuous sexual abuse of a young child
- Prohibited sexual conduct
- Aggravated promotion of prostitution
- Compelling prostitution
- Sexual performance by a child
- Possession or promotion of child pornography
- Online solicitation of a minor
- Trafficking humans
- Aggravated kidnapping, if there was an intent to sexually assault the victim
- Kidnapping or unlawful restraint of a victim younger than 17
- Indecent exposure (second violations)
- First-degree burglary, if committed with the intent to commit a sex crime
If you were convicted of a similar crime in another state, you must also register as a sex offender if you move to Texas.
How Long Do the Sex Offender Registration Requirements Last?
The default rule requires sex offenders to continue registering for ten years after release from prison or completion of their punishment. The ten-year registration period applies, for example, if you were convicted of:
- Prostitution involving a minor
- Second-time indecent exposure
- Online solicitation of a minor
- Certain types of indecency with a child
If the offense involved is classified as a sexually violent offense under Section 62.101, the registration requirements continue for life. Sexual assault, child pornography offenses, and most other violent offenses trigger lifetime registration requirements.
What is a Failure to Register as a Sex Offender?
Violating any of the complex rules discussed above can support charges of failure to register as a sex offender. Allegations might be based on:
- Failure to register upon release from custody
- Failure to register when you move
- Failure to properly verify your registration information
- Using falsified information in your sex offender registration documents
If you’ve been charged with failure to register, call our law firm to discuss your case today. We offer a free consultation, so there’s no risk in learning about your options.
Felony-Level Penalties for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
Sex offender registry laws are extremely complex in Texas. Failure to comply with the detailed requirements can result in another felony charge. The grading, or severity, of the charge will depend upon the severity of your underlying sex crime conviction.
However, if you have a prior history of failure to register as a sex offender, the grading can be pushed up one level. In other words, a second-degree felony can be elevated to a first-degree charge.
Potential consequences depend upon the grading of the offense as follows:
- State jail felony: between six months and two years in state jail. Failing to register if you’re subject to a ten-year registration period is a state jail felony.
- Third-degree felony: between two years and ten years in prison. Failing to register if you’re subject to lifetime registration requirements and an annual verification is a third-degree felony.
- Second-degree felony: between two years and 20 years in prison. Failing to register is a second-degree charge if you’re subject to lifetime registration requirements and a 90-day verification period.
- First-degree felony: between five years and 99 years in prison. First-degree charges might apply in repeat offense cases.
If you have been charged with failure to register as a sex offender in Dallas, it’s important to contact an experienced defense lawyer right away. Our lawyers will fight to protect your rights throughout the process and work to get the best outcome possible for you.
Defenses to Charges Alleging Failure to Register as a Sex Offender in Dallas
A strong defense strategy is key to protecting your rights if you’re accused of failure to register as a sex offender. At Edgett Law Firm, we listen closely to what happened and formulate a defense that’s specifically designed for you.
For general information purposes only, examples of valid defense options may include:
No Intent to Move Residences
Charges alleging failure to register as a sex offender often hinge on a technicality. You’re required to register every time you move. However, it’s possible that you never intended to move at all.
For example, if you work at odd times of the day, law enforcement might mistakenly believe you have moved. If you were evicted or otherwise forced to leave your home, you might also lack the required intent to move.
For Texas sex offender registration requirements to kick in, the out-of-state conviction must be for a sex crime that’s substantially similar to one that triggers Texas registration rules. We may be able to argue that your conviction does not closely mirror a crime in Texas–so that you weren’t subject to the registration requirements in the first place.
Lack of Jurisdiction
Here in Dallas, it might be difficult to determine the correct agency for reporting purposes. If you registered with one law enforcement agency, it’s possible that you might be charged with registering with the wrong agency. Our lawyers can help with these and other mistakes in the registration process.
Mistakes and Clerical Errors
Sometimes, a valid defense is as simple as alleging that your failure to register was based on a simple mistake. For example, maybe a clerical error prevented your registration from going through or the local law enforcement agency office was closed on the last day of the registration period.
Our sex crimes defense lawyers are here to help prevent a mistake from ruining your future.
Contact an Experienced Dallas Failure to Register as a Sex Offender Lawyer Today
Texas sex offender registration laws will haunt you well after you’ve completed your punishment. All too often, people end up facing charges for failure to register because of a technicality or a mistake. At Edgett Law Firm, our experienced defense attorneys are here to help.
To schedule your free consultation with an experienced Dallas failure to register as a sex offender lawyer, all you have to do is call our law office. We can also help if you’ve been charged with a sex crime. We serve clients across Texas, including in Dallas County and Collin County.