Table of Contents
If you live in the state of Texas, you may be wondering how to access the sex offender registry Texas to look up information instantly. When accessing an online registry of sex offenders, you are arming yourself with helpful information to protect you and your family.
Information such as an offender’s name, identifying information, and current address are all things you can find when completing an instant lookup for a sex offender in Texas. This guide contains all the information you’ll need to know how to complete an instant lookup, what type of information you can find, and how you can legally use it. It also explains the crimes compel an offender to provide their location and for how long the law remains in place.
Keep in mind that this registry guide applies only to Texas. Although federal laws are involved, different states may have different rules, guidelines, or methods for getting information about sexual predators.
What Is the Texas Sex Offender Registry? (What Is a Sex Offender and How Can I Look It Up Instantly?)
The Texas sex offender registry is a list of criminals who have committed sex crimes in the past, of various severity. It is made public to help ensure the safety of the citizens of Texas (TX) against sexual predators. When a new sex offender is charged and found guilty, they are ordered to register through local law enforcement, and the list contains information such as the offender’s name, address, the crime they committed, as well as a color photograph.
A sex offender is a person who has committed a crime of a sexual nature. The scope of a sexual crime varies slightly between countries. In the United States, a sex crime is usually considered a crime involving rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse of a child, or prostitution.
The registry was created in accordance with Chapter 62 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. This code details the reasoning behind the records list, the information that is required, and how it can be provided to the public.
The state of Texas’ Department of Safety provides public access to the registry instantly, online. Some of the local police departments also offer websites that will detail the registered sex offenders living in the community. If a local police department doesn’t offer their own website, they will direct you to the state database.
The law in Texas also allows the names and public information of a sexual predator to be provided in newspapers or other news outlets. This is done to help ensure that the public can be notified easily.
Moreover, the state sends postcards or written notices to a community when a high risk predator has moved there, to ensure that citizens stay aware of potential threats.
The sex offender registry Texas is updated and maintained by the state Department of Safety.
How Do You Access the Sex Offender List in Texas?
Texas has made the sex offender registry list easy to search and available to the public. The first thing you will need to do to access the sex offender list in Texas is to visit the Texas Public Sex Offender Website.
Once on the website, you will see any active notifications.
On the left hand side of the website, you will find a navigation menu with an option to search the registry. Once you click this item, you will be taken to the page that will allow you to search the sex offender list. There are three methods you can use to search the Texas sex offender registry:
- Enter an Address
You can enter any address you like, including your home address or the address of a school or daycare.
- Enter a Name
If you are searching the registry for a specific person, you can easily enter their name into the system. Make sure to confirm that any records found actually belong to the person you are searching for, because names aren’t always 100% accurate.
- Enter a Higher Education Institution
If you or your family member are planning on attending college, you can enter the college name into the system. This will return any information regarding sex offenders within the vicinity of the college.
After you type in the information and click search, the system will return any results found. The system will let you know if there are not any sex offenders found with the search information provided. If there are sex offenders registered in the area of your search, you will be able to look through the list.
When searching through the state sex offender list, you should know that only individuals who live, work, or go to school in Texas will be listed. There is an option on the home page of the Texas registry website that will allow you to complete a national search using the Department of Justice’s sex offender registry website.
When navigating the Department of Justice’s website, you will notice that there are two options to search the registry. You can type in a name or an address. Unfortunately, many states do not offer the option to search the national registry with an address. If you input an address, the website will inform you whether or not the specific state you chose will allow the search. With this in mind, it is likely that you will only be able to search the Department of Justice’s sex offender list if you know the name of the person you are searching.
What Information Can You Get from the Texas Sex Offender Registry? (Identifying Risk Levels)
When you search the state sex offender list and find a match, you will gain access to the offender registration record. While these records include substantial information meant to be used for safety, they don’t include everything provided by the registered offenders convicted of a sex crime. Before doing so, just make sure you have reviewed the rules on if you can run a background check on someone without their permission (the rules vary depending on the purpose of the check).
Here’s a list of the public information you will find:
- A name, physical description, and a color photo
- Any alternative names or aliases
- A current, physical address
- The risk level of the criminal to reoffend
- The sex crimes committed by the offender
Criminals are ranked according to the risk level of the offender.
There are three levels: Level One, Level Two, and Level Three. Offenders who are considered a level one risk are considered to be a low danger to the public. The likelihood of these individuals committing another sex crime is low, according to law enforcement. Level two offenders have a higher chance of re-offending in comparison to level one offenders. They are considered a moderate danger.
When a sex offender is labeled as a level three offender, they are considered to be a large danger to the community. A level three offender is the second highest level possible, as they are considered likely to commit another sex crime.
The highest level offenders (indicated by the sex offender registry, Texas records) are those labeled “civil commitment.” These sexual offenders are considered mentally ill and extremely likely to continue to act as sexual predators. “Civil commitment” offenders require a level of supervision that is much more intense than those rated one through three. The state of Texas manages these offenders and their treatment very closely.
While the registry includes plenty of information, it does not display everything that law enforcement collects from the offender. Most information is not released to the public to try and limit negative sex offender treatment. Information collected but not shared with the public includes:
- Private phone numbers
- Driver’s license information
- Employment information
- Social security information
This information is collected and kept for the use of law enforcement officials to ensure they can locate an offender if necessary and prevent them from committing an additional crime or assault.
Are There Laws that Limit Your Access to Finding a Sex Offender in Texas?
According to the Texas Sex Offender Registry List, the information provided can be used by the public for safety reasons. The information available, however, can’t be used to harass or harm anyone.
This means that you legally cannot access information about a sex offender to bother them or commit a crime against them. When using the site, you should also make sure that you are looking at the correct person. Many people have the same or similar names, and it should be noted that mistaken identity is a possibility. Information obtained from the state sex offender registry, Texas records, should only be used to protect yourself, your family, or your child from potential harm.
Keep in mind that using the information found on the Texas registry to harm or blackmail an offender could result in you being arrested and charged with a crime. If you have valid concerns about an offender located near you or your child, you should contact local law enforcement to discuss it.
Do All Sex Crimes Require an Offender to Register?
Once someone is convicted of a sex crime, many may believe that they will be required to register as a sex offender. This is not always the case. In most states, not all sex crimes require registration. Less serious sex crimes, such as statutory rape, may result in the criminal not needing to register. Simply put, registration as a sex offender is usually reserved for serious crimes. While less serious charges may not result in the offender registering on the sex offender list, they may still be found using a background check (what shows up on a background check).
If a sex offender has been ordered to register, they are legally obligated to do so. Failure to register and provide updated information regularly is a felony offense, which can be punishable by jail time. Sex offenders on the registry are required to regularly update their addresses, a change in their employment status, or if they enroll in college. All updates are required to be made within 7 days of the status change.
Does the Law in Texas Require All Offenders to Complete Registration on the Sex Offender Registry? How Long Does a Sex Offender Stay on the Registry?
In the state of Texas, not all sex crimes result in sex offenders required to register. In Texas, there are a few crimes that may not be considered offender registry sex crimes:2
- Statutory rape
- Act of lewdness
- Indecent Exposure
In most cases, a first offense of any of the crimes listed above will not require sex offender registry Texas. Each situation is different, though. There may be situations where the defendant is required to register as a sex offender, depending on the outcome of their trial or agreement between their defense lawyer and prosecutor. For those offenders who commit serious sexual crimes that aren’t within the category above, they will be required to register.
Any sex offender who lives, works, or goes to school in the state of Texas is required to register on the Texas sex offender registry. This applies to those who committed the crime in another state. For example, if the offender committed the crime in Colorado but moved to Texas years afterward, they are required to notify the state and be listed.
Offenders are also required to check in with Texas law enforcement regularly to confirm that all of their information is still correct. If the information that the sex offender originally supplies changes at any point in time, they are legally required to report it right away. This is to help make sure that the public is able to access up to date information.
If a Texas sex offender doesn’t complete their registration or fails to update their record as it changes, they could be prosecuted with a felony charge.
The length of time that an offender needs to register is dependent upon the type of crime they committed. Some sex crimes require the person to register for a lifetime while others can be removed in 10 years.
In Texas, the following crimes will require the offender to register for 10 years:2
- Committing Indecent Exposure in the Second Degree
- Soliciting a minor online
- Kidnapping a child or victim who is under the age of 18
- Attempting to commit a sex crime
Not all sex offenders will be on the registry for life. This is done to ensure that crimes are fairly punished. However, serious offenses such as aggravated sexual assault will result in a life registration. The following crimes are examples of crimes that will require the offender to register for life:2
- Aggravated sex assault
- Kidnapping with the intent to commit a sex crime
- Possession or production of child pornography
- Sex trafficking
- Sexual abuse of a child that is continuous
When a sex offender is required to register on the list for life, they must check in regularly and maintain accurate information for the duration of their life. If at any point in time the sexual offender does not check in, they will be subject to additional prosecution set forth by the law.
Keep in mind that while these crimes are a good frame of reference for the amount of time a sexual predator needs to be registered, this will not be the case for every crime. Each case could incur higher timelines depending on the legal specifics and information reviewed by the judge.
What Restrictions Are Placed on Registered Sex Offenders in Texas?
In some cases, a registered offender may have extended travel restrictions imposed..
In Texas, the sex offender registration program does not explicitly place restrictions on sex offenders when it comes to where they work or live. This means that sex offenders can choose to live within the radius of a school, park, or other community center.
While the state itself does not restrict this, local towns or cities have the option of creating a “child safety zone.”3 When these zones are created, sex offenders are not allowed to live within a certain radius of them. If they break this rule, they could be cited.
If a sex offender committed a crime against a child, they will have restrictions on the type of jobs they can enter. According to Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Chapter 62.063, these offenders won’t be able to hold jobs around kids as a teacher, bus driver, or amusement park operator.3 They also aren’t able to work in public or private transportation or offer services where they need to go inside someone’s home. These restrictions are put into place to prevent any other sexual crimes against children.
What Happens if a Sex Offender Commits Another Crime?
Unfortunately, there are some criminals who commit additional crimes despite being a registered sex offender. The consequences that occur for the repeat offender depend, based on the current and previous sex crime. In most cases, the punishment for the second offense will be more serious given the person’s history. Life prison sentences can be given if the offender commits the following crimes twice:
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Aggravated assault
- Rape or sexual assault
- Indecency with a child
If a crime is committed that isn’t included on the list above, it is usually punished to a degree higher than normal. For example, if an offender previously committed a second-degree sexual felony and was found committing another sexual crime, the new crime would be moved to a first-degree felony.1
Anytime another crime is suspected, a federal warrant search should be conducted as well.
This is done to prevent dangerous criminals from staying out on the streets and committing another dangerous crime. It should also be noted that the increase in punishment is usually only valid for sex offenders who have committed multiple sex offenses. The consequences may not be the same if the original or repeat crime is something like a DUI.
If you live in Texas, you should know that there are several laws put in place to protect you and your family from sexual predators. Once someone is convicted of a register-able sex crime, they will be required to register as a sex offender. Registration can last either 10 years or the offender’s lifetime, depending upon the type of crime committed.
The most dangerous crimes or those committed against children will result in lifetime registration as a sex offender. If you have concerns about someone who doesn’t show up on the sex offender registry, it doesn’t mean they don’t have a criminal history. If you are looking to find criminal history, Texas arrest records are also public.
The opportunity to search public sex offender registry databases in Texas and from a national standpoint is designed to improve safety and prevent recurring crimes. These lists are accessible online and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to the public. This means you can get information on a person who has committed a sex crime instantly.
The information obtained from the sex offender registry in Texas should only be used for the safety of you and your family. It’s illegal to take this information and blackmail or harm the offender. Information used illegally can result in criminal prosecution. If you have concerns about a sex offender near you, you should get in touch with your local law enforcement. Any concerns should be valid before being reported. To ensure the safety of your family and those around you, a search of the sex offender registry, Texas records can instantly confirm concerns you have about suspicious behaviors you may have observed.
1The Law Offices of Ned Barnett. 5 Nov 2020. Texas Penalties for Sex Offenders with Priors. 2 Nov 2021. Web. <https://www.nedbarnett.com/sex-offenders-likely-reoffend/>
2Hampton Law Firm. 7 Sep 2018. What Crimes will Get You Put on the Texas Sex Offender Registry? 2 Nov 2021. Web. <https://www.criminalattorneyfortworthtx.com/what-crimes-will-get-you-put-on-the-texas-sex-offender-registry/>
3Texas Department of Public Safety. N.d. Criminal History Records and Texas Sex Offender Registration Program FAQ. 3 Nov 2021. Web. <https://www.dps.texas.gov/section/crime-records-service/faq/criminal-history-records-and-texas-sex-offender-registration#Sex-offender>