How Long Will I Have to Register as a Sex Offender in Texas?

In Texas the answer is “it depends”. Many who are forced to register as sex offenders wonder if they can ever get off that dreaded. Sex Offender registry laws are set out in Chapter 62 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. This chapter lays down all the groundwork and rules. It also indicates that this chapter applies only to a reportable conviction or adjudication occurring on or after September 1, 1970, so that means this law applies retroactively.

If you are in violation of your obligation or a court order to register as a sex offender, or you would like to get your registration requirement revoked, you need a lawyer.

An Explanation of Texas Law on Sex Offender Registration Requirements

Since Chapter 62 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is very long and extensive, I have provided a brief synopsis of key points that are important to know.

According to Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Chapter 62 § 62.051 & 62.053

A person who has a reportable conviction or adjudication and is required to register as condition of parole, release to mandatory supervision, or community supervision MUST register with the local law enforcement authority in any municipality the person intends to reside no later than 7 days.

Before a person, who will be subject to registration under this chapter, is released from a penal institution, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, or the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, the department must determine the person’s level of risk to the community using the sex offender screening tool developed or selected under Article 62.007 and assign to the person a numeric risk level of one, two, or three. Before releasing the person, an official of the penal institution shall inform the person that:

  1. No later than the 7th day of release a person must register with the local enforcement authority in the municipality or county they intend to reside;
  2. No later than the 10th day after the date on which the person arrives in another state in which the person intends to reside, the person must register with the law enforcement agency that is identified by the department as the agency designated by that state to receive registration information, if the other state has a registration requirement for sex offenders;

AND

The penal institution must require the person to sign a written statement that the person was informed of the person’s duties or if the person refuses to sign the statement, certify that the person was so informed.

Below is a table of sex crime charges that require registration by convicted persons into Texas’ sex offender registry, and how long the registration period is for each crime. The information was collected from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Length of Time Sex Offenders Must Register in Texas by Crime

Offense

Penal Code Section

Registration Length

Unlawful Restraint 20.02, only if: (i) the judgment in the case contains an affirmative finding under Article 42.015; or (ii) the order in the hearing or the papers in the case contain an affirmative finding that the victim or intended victim was younger than 17 years of age. Lifetime, only if the judgment in the case contains an affirmative finding that the victim or intended victim was younger than 17 years of age and, if before or after the person is convicted or adjudicated for one of these offenses, the person receives or has received another reportable conviction or adjudication, other than an adjudication of delinquent conduct, for an offense or conduct that requires registration.
Kidnapping 20.03, only if: (i) the judgment in the case contains an affirmative finding under Article 42.015; or (ii) the order in the hearing or the papers in the case contain an affirmative finding that the victim or intended victim was younger than 17 years of age. Lifetime, only if the judgment in the case contains an affirmative finding that the victim or intended victim was younger than 17 years of age and, if before or after the person is convicted or adjudicated for one of these offenses, the person receives or has received another reportable conviction or adjudication, other than an adjudication of delinquent conduct, for an offense or conduct that requires registration.
Aggravated Kidnapping 20.04, only if: (i) the judgment in the case contains an affirmative finding under Article 42.015; or (ii) the order in the hearing or the papers in the case contain an affirmative finding that the victim or intended victim was younger than 17 years of age. Lifetime, only if the judgment in the case contains an affirmative finding that the victim or intended victim was younger than 17 years of age and, if before or after the person is convicted or adjudicated for one of these offenses, the person receives or has received another reportable conviction or adjudication, other than an adjudication of delinquent conduct, for an offense or conduct that requires registration.
Aggravated Kidnapping 20.04(a)(4), if the actor committed the offense or engaged in the conduct with intent to violate or abuse the victim sexually. Lifetime
Trafficking of Persons 20A.02(a)(3), traffics another person and, through force, fraud, or coercion, causes the trafficked person to engage in conduct prohibited by: (A) Section 43.02 (Prostitution); (B) Section 43.03 (Promotion of Prostitution); (C) Section 43.04 (Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution); or (D) Section 43.05 (Compelling Prostitution). Lifetime
Trafficking of Persons 20A.02(a)(4), receives a benefit from participating in a venture that involves an activity described by Subdivision (3) or engages in sexual conduct with a person trafficked in the manner described in Subdivision (3) Lifetime
Trafficking of Persons 20A.02(a)(7), traffics a child and by any means causes the trafficked child to engage in, or become the victim of, conduct prohibited by:

(A) Section 21.02 (Continuous Sexual Abuse of Young Child or Children);

(B) Section 21.11 (Indecency with a Child);

(C) Section 22.011 (Sexual Assault);

(D) Section 22.021 (Aggravated Sexual Assault);

(E) Section 43.02 (Prostitution);

(F) Section 43.03 (Promotion of Prostitution);

(G) Section 43.04 (Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution);

(H) Section 43.05 (Compelling Prostitution);

(I) Section 43.25 (Sexual Performance by a Child);

(J) Section 43.251 (Employment Harmful to Children); or

(K) Section 43.26 (Possession or Promotion of Child Pornography)

Lifetime
Trafficking of Persons 20A.02(a)(8), receives a benefit from participating in a venture that involves an activity described by Subdivision (7) or engages in sexual conduct with a child trafficked in the manner described in Subdivision (7) Lifetime
Continuous Sexual Abuse of Young Child or Children 21.02 Lifetime
Indecent Exposure 21.08 (Second Offense), but not if the second violation results in a deferred adjudication. 10 Years
Indecency With a Child 21.11 10 Years
Indecency With a Child by Sexual Contact 21.11(a)(1), (2) Lifetime; Lifetime for 21.11(a)(2) only if before or after being convicted or adjudicated for this offense, the person receives or has received another reportable conviction or adjudication, other than an adjudication of delinquent conduct, for an offense or conduct that requires registration.
Sexual Assault 22.011 Lifetime
Aggravated Sexual Assault 22.021 Lifetime
Prohibited Sexual Conduct 25.02 Lifetime
Burglary 30.02(d), and if the actor committed the offense or engaged in the conduct with intent to commit Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child or Children, Indecency with a Child, Sexual Assault, Aggravated Sexual Assault, Prohibited Sexual Conduct, or Aggravated Kidnapping with the Intent to violated or abuse the victim sexually. Lifetime
Online Solicitation of a Minor 33.021 10 Years
Prostitution 43.02(c)(3), if the person solicited is younger than 18 years of age, regardless of whether the actor knows the age of the person solicited at the time the actor commits the offense. 10 Years
Compelling Prostitution 43.05 Lifetime (if convicted under 43.05(a)(2)) Compelling Prostitution of a Minor.
Sexual Performance by a Child 43.25 Lifetime
Attempt, Conspiracy, or Solicitation of: Continuous Sexual Abuse of Young Child or Children, Indecency with a Child, Sexual Assault, Aggravated Sexual Assault, Prohibited Sexual Conduct, Compelling Prostitution, Sexual Performance by a Child, Possession or Promotion of Child Pornography, Aggravated Kidnapping (as listed above), Burglary (as listed above), Unlawful Restraint (as listed above), Trafficking of Persons Chapter 15 10 Years
Possession or Promotion of Child Pornography 43.26 Lifetime

The Texas Legislature in accordance with the National guidelines decided these lengths of registration.

Consequences of Failing to Register as a Sex Offender in Texas (Art. 62.102)

For a 10-year registry, you are facing a State Jail Felony. The range of punishment is 180 days-2 years in a State Jail facility and a $0-$10,000 fine.

For a lifetime registry plus the requisite to verify registration once a year, you are facing a Third Degree Felony. The range of punishment is 2-10 years in the Texas Department of Corrections and a $0-$10,000 fine.

For a lifetime registry plus the requisite to verify registration once each 90-day period, you are facing a Second Degree Felony. The range of punishment is 2-20 years in the Texas Department of Corrections and a $0-$10,000 fine.

Expiration of Duty to Register as a Sex Offender (Art. 62.101)

  • If your case originated in juvenile court but was later transferred to District Court or Criminal District court, registration ends on the 10th anniversary on which you are released from a penal institution, OR discharged from probation, OR the court dismisses criminal proceedings and discharges a person, whichever date is later;

What If I Was Convicted of a Sex Crime as a Juvenile? Do I Still Have the Same Sex Offender Requirements?

Yes, if your conviction is for one of the offenses listed on the table and requires a lifetime registry, it does not matter if you were a juvenile; you still have to register for life and are not subject to the 10 years.

  • If duty to register was based on an adjudication of delinquent conduct, registration will end on the 10th anniversary of the date on which a disposition is made or the person completes the terms of the disposition, whichever date is later;
  • If duty to register was based on a conviction or order of deferred adjudication, registration ends on the 10th anniversary of the date in which the court dismisses criminal proceedings and discharges the person, the person is released from prison, or person discharges community supervision, whichever date is later.

Keep in mind that even if you were placed on probation for a sexual offense and you successfully complete your probation, you are still not subject to the 10-year expiration if your offense is one listed as a lifetime registry on the table.

Also, once you hit the 10-year mark DO NOT stop registering. A motion needs to be filed in order for you to officially stop registering. A common misconception is that the court knows that you can stop registering, but remember Texas is a huge state so no one keeps up with those dates. Do not get into further trouble because you thought you could stop registering.

Motion for Early Termination of Sex Offender Registry (Art. 62.404.)

(a) A person required to register under this chapter who has requested and received an individual risk assessment under Article 62.403 may file with the trial court that sentenced the person for the reportable conviction or adjudication a motion for early termination of the person’s obligation to register under this chapter.

(b) A motion filed under this article must be accompanied by:

(1) A written explanation of how the reportable conviction or adjudication giving rise to the movant’s registration under this chapter qualifies as a reportable conviction or adjudication that appears on the list published under Article 62.402(b); and

(2) A certified copy of a written report detailing the outcome of an individual risk assessment evaluation conducted under Article 62.403(b)(1).

Hearing on Petition (art. 62.405)

(a) After reviewing a motion filed with the court under Article 62.404, the court may:

(1) Deny without a hearing the movant’s request for early termination; or

(2) Hold a hearing on the motion to determine whether to grant or deny the motion.

(b) The court may not grant a motion filed under Article 62.404 if:

(1) The motion is not accompanied by the documents required under Article 62.404(b); or

(2) The court determines that the reportable conviction or adjudication for which the movant is required to register under this chapter is not a reportable conviction or adjudication for which the movant is required to register for a period that exceeds the minimum required registration period under federal law.

Contact us to Schedule a Consultation for Registry Revocation or Dismissal

Call The Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC today to schedule a consultation with a defense attorney for sex offenders.

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