Sex Offender Registration in Texas

Sex offender registration is a requirement imposed on people convicted of certain sex crimes. The registry is accessible to the public. The people listed often experience stigmatization. They can lose a job or be kept from living where they want to live. Sex offenders have to verify their record at least once a year. Certain convictions require lifetime registration.

Failing to register as a sex offender is a felony. Failing to verify registration is a felony, as well.

texas sex offender registry
The sex offender registry is a list of people who have all been convicted of an eligible sex crime.

1. What is the sex offender registry?

In Texas, the sex offender registry is a list of people who have been convicted of an eligible sex crime. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) maintains the registry. The information on the registry comes from other agencies, including:

DPS's registry does not include registered sex offenders in other states.

Offenders get classified in 3 different risk levels:

  1. low risk offenders are unlikely to commit a sexual crime,
  2. moderate risk offenders may continue to commit sex crimes, and
  3. high risk offenders pose a threat to commit a sexual offense.

The registry includes information about a sex offender, like their:

  • physical description, including height, weight, race, and gender,
  • date of birth,
  • aliases,
  • physical address,
  • risk level,
  • details on the conviction that required registration, and
  • photos.

The registry cannot include the following information:

  • Social Security number,
  • driver's license number,
  • telephone number, including cell phone numbers,
  • the name, address, or telephone number of the sex offender's employer, and
  • any information that would identify the victim.1
sexual assault
People convicted for certain sex crimes, such as sexual assault, have to register.

2. Who has to register?

People convicted for certain sex crimes have to register. The nature of the offense determines how long they have to register.

Some people are required to register as a sex offender for life. The following offenses require lifetime registration:

  • continuous sexual abuse of a child,
  • indecency with a child,
  • sexual assault,
  • aggravated sexual assault,
  • sexual performance by a child,
  • aggravated kidnapping, if there was an intent to commit a sex crime,
  • burglary, if there was an intent to commit a sex crime once inside,
  • human trafficking involving prostitution,
  • child trafficking involving or leading to a sex crime,
  • continuous human or child trafficking,
  • incest,
  • compelling child prostitution,
  • possession or promotion of child pornography, and
  • possession or promotion of obscene material of children under 18.2

Some crimes require lifetime registration if there is another conviction. These offenses include:

  • indecent exposure involving a child,
  • unlawful restraint or kidnapping of a child under the age of 17.3

Other sex crimes require registration for 10 years. These offenses include:

  • indecent exposure involving a child, if it was the first offense,
  • unlawful restraint or kidnapping of a child, if it was the first offense,
  • a second offense of indecent exposure involving an adult,
  • bestiality,
  • soliciting a minor online,
  • prostitution,
  • certain instances of statutory rape (with a minor under the Texas age of consent of 17), and
  • attempt or conspiracy to commit a sex crime that requires registration.4

3. What is the registration process?

Each city and county has its own process.

Sex offenders have to register themselves. Law enforcement will not enroll them.

Registrants often send the following information to the local police:

  • the offender's name,
  • address,
  • details about the conviction, and
  • color photographs.

Offenders have to re-register if they move. They have to register within a week of moving to a new county. The only exception is if the county has a longer window for registration.5

Sex offenders who move or visit may have to re-register. They have to notify police if they plan to stay for more than a week.6

4. What is the process for verifying a record?

Sex offender registrants have to verify the information on their record.

The verification process depends on the city or county. In many locales, registrants have to go to the police department. There, they can see their record. If the information is correct, they sign a form. If any information is incorrect, they have to fix it.

Most sex offenders have to verify their record once per year. Those who have multiple convictions for a sexually violent offense do it every 90 days.7

5. What happens if a sex offender fails to register or verify?

Failing to register as a sex offender or verify a record is a felony offense.8

Fines for a violation can be as high as $10,000.

The jail time and criminal class depend on the sex offender:

The offender has to…

Crime class

Potential jail sentence

Register for 10 years

State jail felony

180 days to 2 years

Register for life

Third degree felony

2 to 10 years

Register for life, and verify every 90 days

Second degree felony

2 to 20 years

The offense is elevated to the next degree of felony if:

  • the offender has a prior conviction for failing to register, or
  • the offender fraudulently used information on their record.

Legal References:

  1. Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 62.005(b).

  2. Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 62.101(a).

  3. Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 62.101(a).

  4. Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 62.101(c).

  5. Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 62.051.

  6. Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 62.051.

  7. Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 62.058.

  8. Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 62.102.

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