What Are Sex Offenders Not Allowed to Do in Texas?

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In recent years, sex offender laws have evolved to focus on public safety. Convicted sex offenders must register and report to law enforcement every time they change residences. They also must be within a certain distance of facilities and areas where children gather.

Sex offenders on parole or probation may have child safety zone restrictions and other rules as well. Many cannot work in certain professions ever again.

Indecent Exposure

While indecent exposure may seem like a minor offense to commit, Texas law takes this crime very seriously. This is why you should contact a criminal attorney as soon as possible if you have been arrested or charged with this crime. Convictions for indecent exposure can result in jail time and a sex offender registration requirement, which can cause problems when searching for employment or applying for certain licenses that require a background check.

The state’s laws define indecent exposure as the act of exposing any part of your body, such as your genitals or anus, with the intent to arouse, sexually gratify or offend others. This could include exposing yourself in a public setting, such as a beach or grocery store.

First-time offenders of indecent exposure will typically face a Class B misdemeanor charge. However, if the offender has previously been convicted of indecent exposure, a conviction will likely be elevated to a third-degree felony. Convictions for indecent exposure on a second or subsequent occasion will also result in sex offender registration, which can have life-altering implications when it comes to finding work or obtaining certain licenses.

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Additionally, a sex offender who is on probation, parole or mandatory supervision may be required to live within 500 feet of facilities and areas that usually have children present, including schools, parks, youth centers, playgrounds and sports fields. This can make it difficult to get a job or find an apartment, as many employers will refuse to hire sex offenders.

Public Lewdness

A sex offense conviction can drastically alter the life of anyone, regardless of age or gender. Belton criminal defense lawyers understand this and will work tirelessly to protect you against a conviction. A good defense strategy may involve proving that there was no sexual intent involved. It may also involve looking at the circumstances of the case to see if the act can really be considered lewdness.

The Texas Penal Code defines public lewdness as any act involving the exposure of anus or genitals that happens in a place where the public or a substantial group has access. This includes areas like common rooms in apartment complexes and even a car that is parked in a public parking lot. It can also include any public or non-public place where you are reckless about whether another person may be offended by your behavior.

Just like indecent exposure, the state needs to have evidence that you exposed anus or genitals for a certain length of time in order to charge you with this offense. Your attorney will be able to point out any issues that could lead to this, such as a false sense of privacy that led you to think your actions were private when they weren’t or an error in judgment where you thought no one else was around to see the behavior.

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Child Abuse

If you’ve been convicted of child abuse, either in the form of continuing sexual abuse or a one-time act of sexual contact with a minor under 14 years old (often called a 3g offense), Texas law requires that you register as a sex offender for life. Depending on the circumstances, this could restrict your movement to only certain areas of the state and could prevent you from working in professions that work with children such as schools, sports facilities, day care centers, and medical offices.

Depending on the severity of your conviction, you may also lose your Second Amendment rights to own and possess firearms. If you have a felony record, this can also impact your ability to apply for jobs and to find housing. In many cases, you’ll also be required to attend psychological counseling sessions for sex offenders and provide a DNA sample.

There are exceptions to the sex offender registration laws that could allow you to be exempt from this requirement. However, it’s best to talk to an experienced attorney about your case and whether or not you qualify for an exemption from sex offender registration. You’ll have to prove that you do not pose a risk to the public and that you’ve made progress in your reintegration into society. The judge will consider other evidence when deciding if you should be exempt from the sex offender registry.

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Sexual Assault

If a person is convicted of sex crimes involving sexual assault, they may be required to register as a sex offender for life. However, many sex offenders are required to register for far shorter periods because the laws have been changing over time with an emphasis on public safety and preventing more victims.

Registration requirements vary by state, county, city, or town. Local officials maintain sex offender databases and publish information to protect the community. People on the registry may be banned from certain employment opportunities, cannot travel without special permission, and are required to register with each local police department they encounter.

In addition, some of the restrictions create criminal liability. For instance, if a sex offender goes against the terms of their registration and moves to another city without notifying the new location’s law enforcement agency, they can be charged with the crime of failing to register. Moreover, people who use the Internet for sexual purposes, such as when they are convicted of soliciting a minor, are subject to social media surveillance and even Internet restrictions.

When a person faces these serious charges, it is vital to have an experienced child pornography lawyer from Westfall Sellers fighting for their case. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We can help you fight to save your reputation and freedom.

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