The Texas Sex Offender Registration Program (Chapter 62 of the Code of Criminal Procedure) is a sex offender registration and public notification law designed to protect the public from sex offenders. This law requires adult and juvenile sex offenders to register with the local law enforcement authority of the city they reside in or, if the sex offender does not reside in a city, with the local law enforcement authority of the county they reside in. Registration involves the sex offender providing the local law enforcement authority with information that includes, but is not limited to, the sex offender's name and address, a color photograph, and the offense the offender was convicted of or adjudicated for. Registered sex offenders are required to periodically report to the local law enforcement authority to verify the accuracy of the registration information and to promptly report certain changes in the information as those changes occur. A sex offender who fails to comply with any registration requirement is subject to felony prosecution.
Public notification of registered sex offenders is accomplished in several different ways. First, the Texas Department of Public Safety (“TXDPS”) maintains a statewide sex offender registration database. This database contains all information provided to Texas local law enforcement authorities by sex offenders required to register. State law specifically makes most information in this database freely available to the public. The public may access this information at any time through the TXDPS website located at https://records.txdps.state.tx.us/soSearch/default.cfm.
Further, every local law enforcement authority in Texas maintains a sex offender registry that contains information on all sex offenders registered with the authority. Like the information in the TXDPS database, state law makes most registration information contained in local registries available to the public. Some local law enforcement authorities have established local websites the public can access to search for sex offenders living in their community. State law also permits local law enforcement authorities to publish some sex offenders in a newspaper, circular, or other periodical that serves the community the sex offender resides in. Finally, if a high risk sex offender or a civilly committed sexually violent predator moves into a community, the TXDPS will notify the community by mailing to each residence and business in the community a postcard containing information about the offender or predator.