Sex Offender Registration in Texas
The new label of “registered sex offender” may seem incredibly daunting and you may feel like you’re in a hole you can never dig out of, but rest assured, this is not the case. No matter what you were charged with or how you came into this situation, you can live a relatively normal life with just a few tweaks here and there.
First Things First: A Home
Everyone needs a place to call home. Before your conviction, you may have ruled out specific houses or apartments because of price, location or the fact that there was no kitchen island. Now, we will be adding one more piece of criteria to the list. As a registered sex offender seeking shelter in Texas, you may not live in an area that is within 500 feet of a “child safety zone,” which includes parks, schools, athletic fields and other areas children regularly gather. The 500 feet is just a minimum, however, and there can be additional rules based on the city you live in. For example, in San Antonio a registered sex offender may not reside within 1,000 feet of a city park. (Don’t worry – the Riverwalk is the exception of this rule because this would prohibit living downtown.)
Save time and money while applying for apartments by asking the landlord for written eligibility criteria before you pay application fees. Landlords do reserve the right to reject applicants based on their criminal records, so getting their rules in writing can help immensely along the way. While searching for your next home, it is a good idea to have a trusted attorney look over the paperwork you are receiving and signing. This is important in the event that you are discriminated against, outside of denial based on your criminal record. Apartments so often violate the Fair Housing Act, which protects you from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and more. Speak with an attorney at our office to see how discrimination can play into denial of one based on a criminal record.
It is important to note that if the state has declared you high-risk, it may be mandatory for you to, 1) inform your neighbors of your status or 2) the state will mail neighbors and other residents postcards letting them know you are on the sex offender registry.
Next Up: A Job
Here it is again – you may not live in, work close to or visit a “child safety zone.” Right off the bat, you may not become licensed to hold a child-related job, such as a teacher, physician or coach. I know this is a lot to take in, but don’t be discouraged! Companies that have been known to hire registered sex offenders in the past include hardware stores, software companies, retail stores, construction companies and restaurants. There are plenty of options you have for employment and if you don’t land a job the first time.
What Else Can There Possibly Be?
Since sex offender registry is a case-by-case basis, there are other restrictions that may be placed on you upon registration. There’s a chance you could be limited to no access to the Internet. There’s a possibility that you may only be able to leave a specific area you live and work in with notification and permission from an officer. The amount of times you spend with family members under the age of 17 may be monitored or you may have to go through regular alcohol and drug testing.
For a free, confidential consultation contact the Law Offices of Daniel & Hudson at 210-222-2297. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.