What Are the Penalties for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender in Texas?
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced the indictment of a Denton, TX man on federal sex offender registry violations. According to the indictment, in 2011, the man was convicted of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse in Iowa. The conviction also required he register as a sex offender. In early 2020, the man moved to Texas and registered as a sex offender as required, however, he moved back to Iowa a short time later and deregistered in Texas. In October, he moved back to Texas and failed to register again in Texas as required.
The man has pleaded not guilty to the crime and is currently being held until trial. Failing to register can be charged as both a federal or state crime and carry the potential of lengthy prison time and hefty fines.
Sex Offender Registry
In Texas, just as in all states, people who are convicted of certain criminal offenses are required to register with the state's sexual offender registry. This means they have to notify the police department of the town or city they live in of their presence. If they move to another location, they must inform law enforcement.
These registries were put in place to alert the public of known sex offenders who may be living or working in their neighborhoods. The laws also prevent registered offenders from residing, working, or even visiting areas where they could commit sexual crimes, such as near schools or playgrounds.
The amount of time a person is required to register depends on the level of the offense. Texas has expanded its law over the past few years, requiring even longer durations of registrations. Some sexual crime convictions now mean lifetime registration. In 2018, the law was changed so that even those who previously pleaded guilty with prosecutors in exchange for not being required to register now are required to. Some of these plea negotiation agreements went back as far as three decades.
Failure to register or update can lead to severe penalties. Under federal law, that failure can result in up to 10 years in prison, plus fines. If the person fails to register and commits a violent federal crime, they may face up to 30 years in prison.
Under Texas law, failure to register can also lead to jail and fines. The amount of jail depends on the level of crime the person was convicted of:
A state jail felony conviction can result in six months to two years in state jail.
A third-degree felony conviction can result in two to 10 years in prison.
A second-degree felony conviction can result in two to 20 years in prison.
A first-degree felony conviction can result in five to 99 years in prison.
All the above convictions also include fines of up to $10,000.
Contact a Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If you have been charged with failure to register or failure to update with law enforcement for the sex offender registry, contact an experienced Plano, TX sex offense attorney right away. The consequences of a conviction could be dire to your future. Call The Crowder Law Firm, P.C. at 214-303-9600 to schedule a free consultation.