Sex Offender Registration

Understanding this Penalty of Sex-Related Crimes

Crimes that incorporate the element of sex are taken extremely seriously by the state of Texas. Heavily stigmatized, these crimes will often leave someone who was charged with personal and professional repercussions. While the associated penalties can be harsh enough, there is nothing which can cause more difficulties to the life of the convicted than the mandatory registration as a sex offender. Under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure §62.005, the state of Texas is required to maintain a "computerized central database" which will house all of the information for those who are registered as a sex offender with the states.

All of this information is made public, minus certain information (such as their social security number). Other information which will be made available to the general public include a current photograph of the offender, as well as their name, address, county of residence and zip code. For someone who has been convicted of a registerable offense, they will be required to register with the local law enforcement in whichever jurisdiction that they currently reside; in some cases, they will be required to register simply for visiting for an extended period of time. This information will also be made available to the Department of Public Safety (DPS).

About the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act

In 2006, President George W. Bush signed into law the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, commonly referred to as simply the Walsh Act. Under this act, sex offenders were categorized into three separate tiers, based upon the severity of the crime for which they were found guilty. Tier 1 offenders were found guilty of the mildest sex offenses and are only required to update their registration every year with a total of 15 years of registration per the federal statute. Tier 2 offenders, on the other hand, must update their location every six months with a total 25 years of registration. For Tier 3 offenders, the severest of offenses, they are required to update their whereabouts every three months and are registered for life.

This law is also often referred to as the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) which revises the previous requirements for the mandatory registration as sex offenders. It replaced the previous statutes under the Jacob Wetterling Act, which was passed into law as part of the Federal Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. The primary goal of SORNA was to close any previous loopholes which had been noted over the years, as well as to cast a larger net. By required more offenders to register and by making the information of offenders more readily available to the public, it hoped to enhance public safety.

Problems with Sex Offender Registration

While the intentions of sex offender registration laws are good, there have been concerns that these laws may cause more harm than the good they aim to create. In fact, in 2007 the Human Rights Watch reported that it may not do any good in fulfilling its mission of protecting children, but may be a catalyst which could lead to harassment, ostracism and violent actions against people who are listed. Currently, there are widespread issues with these registration laws which lead to people who are listed to deal with public and personal issues - which can include banishment and serious hindrances in their private life.

Many argue that current laws are too large in scope and not delicate enough in execution. By listing people who have been convicted of minor sex crimes - such as indecent exposure and consensual sex as teenagers - it can lead to undeserving people facing the weight of public opinion. It also does not leave the option for a rehabilitated offender to relieve themselves of the weight of dealing with such a penalty. Instead, someone who committed a crime over a decade ago may be still listed - leaving the public to assume they are dangerous and a liability and treating them as such. No amount of lawful behavior can change this.

Defending Against Charges of Sexual Offenses

If you have been criminally charged with a sex-related crime, you need an aggressive attorney who is willing to help protect your legal rights. At The Martinez Law Firm, they understand what's on the line with sexual offenses and are prepared to put together a comprehensive and highly effective defense on your behalf. There are many defenses which can be utilized on your behalf. For example, our firm could present a defense strategy that the sexual assault or rape was lied about by the alleged victim. This could be done out of jealousy, attempt to gain custody or simply fear that it could ruin their reputation.

With over 15 years of experience, the criminal defense lawyers from our firm are prepared to go above and beyond in our efforts to protect your legal rights. Regardless of the details of your case, you can be confident knowing that you will have a heavyweight in your corner who is fully invested in the defense of your case. If you would like to learn more about our firm and how we can help in the crafting of your defense, you should not hesitate to contact us as soon as possible. We know what's at stake and are ready to step up and fight for you.

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