Which Texas Crimes Require Registration as a Sex Offender?

If you or someone you know has been convicted of crime that requires registration as a convicted sex offender, it is important to understand the current Texas law that applies to convicted sex offenders. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals dealt with the issue of when a person is required to register as a sex offender in REYNOLDS v. STATE.

In this case, Craig Reynolds was charged with failure to register as a sex offender. Mr. Reynolds was first convicted of sexual assault of a child in 1990. He served five years in prison but was not required to register as a sex offender under 1990 Texas law. The Texas sex offender registration statute included a “savings clause” that allowed anyone who served prison time on or after September 1, 1997, to skip the registration process. In 2005, Texas changed this statute and took out the language that allowed people to skip the registration process. Mr. Reynolds was arrested and charged with failure to register due to the fact that the new registration laws now cover his 1990 crime.

What are the Current Texas Sex Offender Registration Laws?

Currently, in Texas, the law is as follows: anyone convicted after September 1, 1970, of a sex offense or similar crime that requires registration must now register or face prosecution. The list of crimes is as follows:

  • indecency with a child
  • sexual assault
  • aggravated sexual assault
  • prohibited sexual contact
  • compelling prostitution
  • sexual performance by a child
  • possession or promotion of child pornography
  • aggravated kidnapping if the crime was committed with intent to abuse the victim sexually
  • burglary if the burglary was coupled with sexual assault of aggravated kidnapping
  • unlawful restraint, kidnapping, or aggravated kidnapping
  • a second conviction for indecent exposure
  • any crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice that meets the requirements of these previously mentioned crimes (note: you must be an active member of the military)

The State of Texas must notify sex offenders that they are required to register before the offender is released from prison. In the Reynolds case, Mr. Reynolds relied upon a letter from the State of Texas that told him he did not need to register. Unfortunately, this letter was sent in error, and the court disregarded this argument when Mr. Reynolds brought it up.

In his argument, Mr. Reynolds claimed the language of the “savings clause’ saves him from any requirement to register as a sex offender. The State countered this argument and said that the plain text of the statute now controls all sex offenders so that any sex offender who was convicted after September 1, 1970, must register. The Court held that if the State of Texas wished to keep the “savings clause” in the language of the law, the language would still be in the statute. The fact that the State deleted the language allowing those convicted before 1990 to escape any registration requirements, means the State intends for those individuals to have a newly acquired requirement to register. The Court did hold that individuals who were arrested for failure to register between 1997 and 2005 might have an argument that the “savings clause” still applies to them, but Mr. Reynolds’ conviction was not within that time period.

If you have ben arrested for failing to register as a convicted sex offender, call Guest and Gray Law Firm’s defense team today. Guest and Gray Law Firm is a full service civil and criminal defense law firm serving the entire DFW Metroplex including Dallas, Kaufman, Rockwall and surrounding counties. Our main office is in Forney, Texas where we have served the community since 1967. We also have office locations in Rockwall and Kaufman, Texas. Our team of lawyers is ready to help with any concern you might have involving any duty to register as a sex offender.

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