Sex offender registration is an enormously embarrassing requirement. While in some cases there is strong public policy justifying registration, in many cases the offender poses no risk to the community but is still scarred and publicly humiliated by being required to register. Fortunately, the Texas Legislature has recently recognized this fact and has provided an avenue for deregistration. The procedures are complex, time consuming and expensive, but if you qualify there may be relief available. Call us, 512-476-6201, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your personal situation.
Who is eligible to deregister?
To be eligible to deregister, a person must have only one conviction for which registration is required The registration period under Texas law must be longer than the minimum period required under the federal Adam Walsh Act. Whether the registration period under Texas law is longer than the minimum period under the Adam Walsh Act can be a difficult determination to make. The federal act describes offenses by conduct rather than by reference to state statutes. DPS is required to publish a list of Texas offenses qualifying for deregistration. Sometimes a conviction for certain conduct under a Texas penal statute will qualify for deregistration while a conviction for different conduct under the same statute will not.
What are the steps to deregister?
- The person’s eligibility for deregistration should be determined. See above for information on who is eligible to deregister.
- Eligibility for deregistration must be formally determined by the Council on Sex Offender Treatment. An applicant must file with the Council on its official form an Initial Eligibility Checklist for Deregistration Evaluation. Accompanying the form must be court documents stating the offense of conviction or adjudication with Penal Code citation; Court documents indicating when he started probation/parole, and the length of the term. If the offense is Indecency with a child, an applicant must provide either an Offense Report and/or court documentation that evidences the age of the victim and the offender at the time of the offense, a copy of an updated criminal history background as recorded by DPS and the FBI, and a $50 fee.
- If the Council determines that a person is eligible for deregistration, the person is then authorized to undergo a risk assessment evaluation by a licensed evaluation specialist. The specialist will conduct an evaluation in accordance with the criteria established by the Council to assess the threat of whether the person will reoffend. The specialist will prepare a report of the results of the evaluation.
- After the risk assessment is completed, the person may petition the court where the conviction took place and request that the court terminate the duty to register. The judge has broad discretion in ruling on the petition. He may deny it without a hearing or he may conduct a hearing and then grant or deny the request. It is important that the petition be persuasive and that evidence be presented such that a compelling case be presented at the hearing.