Understanding Megan's Law in Texas
Posted By The Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass || 16-Mar-2015
Megan’s Law was signed in 1996 to promote community awareness about convicted sex offenders that live nearby. The law was passed following the rape and murder of Megan Kanka, a seven-year-old girl. The incident prompted widespread outrage and calls for public notification about individuals convicted of sex crimes. Although Megan’s Law is federal and applies to all states, each individual state, including Texas, may set certain criteria for administering it.
Who Is Required to Register?
Under Megan’s Law, individuals in Texas who are convicted of sex crimes must register within seven days of moving to a new municipality. The law also applies to out-of-state offenders who move to Texas.
What Information Is Collected?
The sex offender registry in Texas collects information such as the offender’s full name, aliases, sex, date of birth, height, weight, and other identifying information, including the individual’s Social Security number. The registry even collects the offender’s shoe size. Offenders are required to submit to a photograph and they are fingerprinted. They must provide information pertaining to their employment and current education, if applicable. Specific details about the conviction, such as the age of the victim, are also entered into the registry.
How Is the Information Verified?
Periodically, law enforcement officers in Texas are required to verify the information of those convicted of sex crimes. Sex offenders who have been civilly committed are checked every 30 days. Address verification is required every 90 days for individuals convicted of two or more crimes that are sexually violent. Other sex crimes convictions require annual address verification.
Have you been charged with failure to register in Texas? You have the right to defend yourself from the charges by retaining the services of a criminal defense attorney. Call to contact the Dallas or Plano locations of the Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass, criminal defense attorney, or visit us online for more information.