One of the most devastating consequences of a Texas sex crime conviction is the possible requirement to register as a sex offender. This means that even after your prison sentence is served, you will still be paying for your crime.
Due to your presence on the list, you may experience harassment from neighbors or community members. You may even be restricted from living in certain areas, or be barred from participating in certain events in your community.
Clearly, the practical and emotional consequences of sex offender registration could affect nearly every aspect of your life.
However, you might not be aware that sex offender registration isn’t necessarily permanent. If you meet certain criteria, it may be possible to de-register from the Texas Sex Offender Registry database. However, deregistration is a complex and detail-oriented process.
To this end, we’ve provided a guide for removing yourself from the Texas Sex Offender Registry.
Step 1 : Check Your Eligibility
The first step for sex offender deregistration is to submit a deregistration application to the Council on Sex Offender Treatment. This application includes questions about your conviction and adjudication, your completion of a Sex Offender Treatment Program, and a list of supporting documentation necessary for a completed application.
Based on your application, the Council will determine whether you meet the requirements for the deregistration process. At minimum, you must have only one conviction requiring sex offender registration, and you must have completed a treatment program to qualify.
If you are currently living with sex offender registration, it is always worthwhile to check your eligibility. While violent crimes are generally excluded from deregistration, illegal acts such as online solicitation of a minor, possession of child pornography, and compelling prostitution may be eligible.
The application will include a current criminal history check to determine if you have re-offended, and a court order describing the original conviction, indictment, offense report, and probable cause affidavit. The application will also include information such as your age at the time of the offense, and any potential mitigating factors. ‘
Importantly, the decision for eligibility will be made on a case-by-case basis. Factors such as your age at the time of the offense, and the presence of any aggravating or mitigating factors, will be assessed.
A Texas criminal defense attorney experienced in defending against sex crime charges can help to evaluate your case, determine whether you meet other requirements for registration, and locate any necessary supporting documentation.
Step 2: Schedule and Attend an Evaluation
Once you have been approved for deregistration by the Council on Sex Offender Treatment, you will need to contact a deregistration specialist to schedule an in-person evaluation. The purpose of your evaluation is to assess your probability of re-offending. There are a number of deregistration specialists available, and your defense attorney can help you select the best evaluator.
The evaluation for deregistration consists of two parts, one written and one oral. The evaluation generally takes 3-4 hours. After the evaluation, your paperwork and the assessment are sent back to the Council on Sex Offender Treatment for review, and a copy of the report is sent to you or to your defense attorney.
Step 3: Petition the Court
If your assessment is favorable and the Council agrees that you meet the criteria for deregistration, you will petition the court to have your name removed from the registry. Together with your defense attorney, you will appear in the court where you were originally sentenced to petition for release from the registry. If the judge approves the petition, he or she will grant a signed court order for removal.
Step 4: Submit Your Court Order for Removal
Finally, when you receive the order for deregistration, you will submit a copy of the order to the Department of Public Safety, and your name will be removed from the registry in a reasonable period of time. If there are any issues or delays in the processing of your registration, your attorney can step in to assist in resolving these problems.
What Will the Record Show After Deregistration?
If you successfully complete sex offender deregistration, your name will be removed from the Texas Sex Offender Registry. However, your criminal record will remain in place, as sex crimes are not eligible for expungement in Texas. Sex offender deregistration does not seal your criminal record, so the conviction will still show up on criminal background checks.
Still, getting your name off the registry is a huge step, and taking the time to review your eligibility for sex offender deregistration could very well change your life. If you’ve done your time, you have the right to move on.
About the Author:
After getting his Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center, Jeff Hampton began practicing criminal law in Texas in 2005. Before becoming a defense attorney, he worked as a prosecutor for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office – experience he uses to anticipate and cast doubt on the arguments that will be used against his clients. Over the course of his career, he has helped countless Texans protect their rights and get the best possible outcome in their criminal cases. His skill has earned him recognition from the National Trial Lawyers (Top 100 Trial Lawyers) and Avvo (Top Attorney in Criminal Defense, Top Attorney in DUI & DWI, 10/10 Superb Rating), and he is Lead Counsel rated.