According to the Texas Criminal Code of Procedure, a convicted sex offender who fails to register as a sex offender could be severely penalized even if he or she has a valid reason for failing to do so on time. Normally, cases like these are due to some clerical errors or minor technicalities that could be defensible, since every case will be determined based on their specific facts.
Below are some circumstances that could be used as defense.
Convictions Outside Texas
If a sex offender was convicted for a sex offense outside Texas, they could be charged for failing to register after relocating to Texas. According to criminal defense attorneys in Houston, the DPS or Department of Public Safety however should first determine that the offense could be significantly similar to a sex offense that requires a registration also in Texas. Otherwise, an offender can’t be convicted if he or she fails to register.
Unreported Relocation Mistakes
Under specific conditions, say, like those who work in shifts or odd hours, the court could assume that the offender doesn’t live at their address specified in the sex offender registry. In this instance, the offender can show proof of regular rent or tax payments and mail, and that they still keep and maintain their possessions in the address registered.
An offender planning to relocate must inform the DPS seven days before moving. The court will have to prove the relocation date and that the offender had specific intentions or plans of moving prior to that date. On the other hand, the offender could have been displaced or forced to change addresses abruptly — this could be used as a valid defense.
A convicted sex offender must register with their local law enforcement agency. But in bigger cities with many precincts, suburbs, townships, and unincorporated districts, this could be quite confusing. In cases where an offender who has registered with their local law enforcement is accused of not complying because the court is arguing that the offender registered with the incorrect agency, it’s the court’s responsibility to prove without a reasonable doubt that the mistake was in fact on the part of the offender.