When most people think of sex offenders, they think of serial child molesters who stalk their next victims at playgrounds, or brutal rapists who violate the rights of women. These cases, of course, do happen. However, as many people have discovered the hard way, these cases aren’t the only offenses that can force someone to register as a sex offender.
Many individuals are required to publically register as sex offenders because of offenses involving consensual sex or other acts that the individuals might not have known were crimes.
Unfortunately, even when an individual means no harm, the repercussions of minor sex offenses can quickly escalate. Under certain circumstances, something as seemingly harmless as urinating in public or having consensual sex in a car could land you on the sex offender registry. Regardless of the crime committed, registered sex offenders all face the same social stigmas, challenges, and restrictions. Let’s say you had consensual sex in a way that the law deemed illegal – you could face the same difficulties as a violent rapist who was also forced to register as a sex offender.
According to Business Insider, here are 6 surprising ways that could result in registration as a sex offender in McAllen, Texas:
1) Taking nude photos — if you’re a minor.
Teenagers who take pictures of themselves while naked could get charged with child pornography and be put on sex registries, according to a 2013 report from Human Rights Watch. It gets worse – kids who send naked photos that are viewed in another state could be charged with a federal crime, according to Avvo.
For example, a 15-year-old girl in Pennsylvania was charged in 2004 with spreading child porn after taking nude photos of herself and putting them online, according to Human Rights Watch. She was forced to register as a sex offender.
2) Visiting a prostitute.
In all states except Nevada, prostitution is illegal. Even inquiring as to a prostitute’s rates can be seen as a crime. Visiting a prostitute can be considered a “registerable offense” in some situations.
3) Urinating in public. At least 13 states require sex offender registration for public urination, according to Human Rights Watch’s comprehensive review of sex offender laws in 2007. In Texas, you can get a ticket if you’re caught urinating in public. However, under Texas law, it’s possible for urinating in public to turn into an “indecent exposure” charge which can turn into a sex offense.
4) Flashing or streaking. You can get arrested for indecent exposure and that can land you on the sex offender registry. Even if you flash breasts or genitals as a joke or go streaking as a dare – those harmless intentions could possibly mean you end up on the sex offender registry.
5) Having consensual sex with a teenager, even if you’re a teenager, too. At least 29 states require teenagers who have had consensual sex with each other to register as sex offenders, according to the Human Rights Watch Report from 2007. In Texas, even consensual sex between two teenagers who are in a loving relationship can be considered a crime and can land individuals on the sex offender registry.
6) Sleeping with a relative. Incest is not just a social taboo in Texas, it’s illegal. Sex between blood relatives can be considered a sex crime in Texas and could result in penalties that include registering as a sex offender.
These are just six surprising ways that harmless intentions or thoughtless actions could result in years, decades, or even a lifetime of having to register as a sex offender. Registered sex offenders face challenges with employment, housing, law enforcement, and society in general. If you’re facing criminal charges, it’s time to act to protect your future. You deserve aggressive criminal defense!
Where’s the Justice?
Sex crime laws exist to provide justice for the innocent and the laws surrounding what counts as a sex crime aren’t always fair. But, regardless of your guilt or innocence, a criminal conviction will turn your life upside down. If you find yourself facing accusations for sex crimes, you need to talk with a qualified criminal defense attorney right away. A criminal defense attorney can help you convince the courts of your side of the story. If you’re already on the sex offender registry, a criminal defense attorney can help you appeal for deregistration. Juan Tijerina has over 12 years of legal experience representing clients in federal, state, and county courts. The Tijerina Law Firm offers free 30-minute consultations. Get started by calling (956) 261-5609 or by sending a message online.
4016 N. 22nd Street
McAllen, Texas 78504
Phone: (956) 261-5609
Phone: (512) 900-1126