How Does Registering as a Sex Offender Impact Your Life?

So you’ve hit rock bottom. You’ve been charged with a sex crime.

Your personal reputation is ruined. Friends and family members no longer speak to you.

And now you may have to register with the State of Texas as a “Sex Offender.”

What does that mean? How does that impact your daily life?

Some of it depends on the nature of your crime.

But here’s what you can generally expect:

1. To start, you must give your city or county law enforcement your name, address, a color photo of yourself, and the crime you were convicted of (plus the age of the victim, date of conviction, and the punishment for the crime). You must also give your Social Security number, driver’s license number, fingerprints, and shoe size (not a joke).

Falsifying any of this information can result in an instant felony charge.

2. You must periodically report to local law enforcement to verify the accuracy of this information, and to report any changes. This is typically yearly, but may be every 90 days if you have 2 convictions of a violent offense. If you are civilly committed as a sexually violent predator, you must do this every 30 days.

3. You must also give extensive professional information. For example, you must provide every business, occupational, and professional license or certificate you have or are trying to get. Conviction of a sex crime may prevent you from getting some of these licenses.

4. You also have to tell authorities if you are employed, or if you will be a student. You must provide the name and address of the institution. You also have to notify campus security of your status as a sex offender.

5. The information you report then gets provided by local authorities to the Department of Public Safety to be published in the publicly accessible DPS’ Sex Offender Database.

6. If you are under probation supervision, you will have restrictions keeping you certain distances from schools, parks, and any places children gather. These can change, depending on the nature of your crime.

7. If you are a “high-risk” sex offender (Level 3), one deemed likely to re-offend, Texas DPS will mail post-cards to the community you move to.

8. If you were convicted after September 1, 1995 and your victim was under 17, local residents will be notified in the newspaper.

How Long Do You Have to Register as a Sex Offender?

This depends on the nature of your conviction. In many cases you must remain a registered sex offender for the rest of your life. For some other cases sex offenders stay on the registry for 10 years, assuming no additional offenses.

There is a possibility under current Texas law of removing the registration requirement that has been placed on you if you meet the requirements.  Contact a criminal defense attorney to learn more about this.

Practical Implications of Being a Registered Sex Offender

Those were just the legal consequences of being a registered a sex offender. Then there’s a number of practical personal consequences that may happen too:

• Divorce

• Your children won’t talk to you

• No one in the community speaks to you

• Difficulty getting a job

• Living in shame, guilt, and remorse

• Unable to get the professional license you want

• Financial consequences that result from all this

Basically, you can lose everything important in your life with a mere charge of a sex crime.  To try to avoid some of these serious consequences, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney before your conviction.

That’s why it’s important to have a skilled criminal defense attorney on your side.