Not every convicted sex offender has to comply with the public registry for life. Here’s how a sex offender in Texas can apply for deregistration.
Anyone who is convicted of a sex crime in Texas may be required to register as a sex offender. Examples of such sex crimes include sexual assault, prohibited sexual conduct, indecency with a child and prostitution. These are just a few examples and are not an exhaustive list of offenses that classify someone as a sex offender in Texas.
The sex offender registry serves a valuable purpose as it’s designed to inform and protect the public. However, at times it can also cause undue discrimination against a minor sex offender. Although illegal in many cases, this discrimination can prevent a sex offender registrant from acquiring secure housing, lucrative employment and prevent them from access to educational opportunities.
Recognizing that not all sex offenders are an equal threat to society, the state of Texas has made it possible for certain offenders to deregister from the list. By working with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Texas, an individual will be able to better understand the deregistration process and who is eligible.
Understanding Sex Offender Deregistration
The amount of time that a sex offender is required to comply with the registry laws is determined by the severity of the crime they committed. While some individuals will be ordered to comply with the registry for life, others may undergo a process called sex offender deregistration which removes their name and information from that database, as well as their requirements to comply with reporting under the law.
Chapter 62 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure outlines under which circumstances deregistration is a possibility. In order to meet the criteria for deregistration eligibility, the following must apply to the individual’s case and circumstances. (1)
- The individual must be a first-time sex offender who was convicted of a non-aggravated offense
- Complied with registry requirements for a minimum of 10 years
- Been convicted of a crime where the registration period under state law exceeds that required by federal law
- Have not been convicted of more than one sexual offense
- Successfully completed any court-mandated sex offender treatment and therapy.
- Undergo an assessment to determine their sex offender risk level
Texas views the sex offender registry as being important for public safety, which means the deregistration process can be lengthy and complex. To begin the process, an individual must meet the above criteria, except for the assessment, and then submit a written request for deregistration with the Texas Council on Sex Offender Treatment. This written request should also include all court documents pertaining to the case, along with background checks and any documentation that sex offender treatment has occurred and been successfully completed.
If upon review, the request is approved, the individual must then submit to a sex offender risk assessment. This assessment is a tool that’s used to determine the present and future threat a convicted sex offender poses to society at large.
What Is the Sex Offender Risk Assessment?
The sex offender risk assessment is a screening tool that’s used to evaluate the level of risk associated with a person who has been convicted of a criminal sexual offense. The review is completed by the Risk Assessment Review Committee, a department which has been established by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Through a series of tools, each person who undergoes the assessment is assigned a risk factor number. While the assessment is not predictive, meaning it can’t predict or guarantee certain behavior, it’s used to establish a level of probability that’s useful in determining if someone has rehabilitated enough to be removed from sex offender registry requirements.
With the exception of civil commitment sex offenders, which is a designation reserved for individuals who are repeat violent offenders with a known behavioral abnormality that are also committed to outpatient treatment with supervision, each person who undergoes the assessment is assigned a risk level ranging from one to three.
To briefly outline what each of these assessment risk levels indicates:
- An individual assigned with a risk level of one is considered to pose a low danger to the community, with it being unlikely that they will commit a repeat offense.
- An individual assigned with a risk level of two is considered to pose a moderate risk to the community and presents with a moderate likelihood that they will commit a repeat offense.
- An individual with a risk level of three is one who is considered to pose a significant threat to the community, with the likelihood that they will commit a future criminal sex act being high.
In almost all cases, someone who is assigned as a level one risk will be granted deregistration, where the decision for someone with a risk level of two will depend on multiple factors. It’s rarely the case that a person who has been assessed with a risk level of three is granted sex offender deregistration.
When to Contact a Dallas Sex Crimes Defense Attorney
Someone who has been convicted of a sexual offense and is interested in learning more about being relieved of their sex offender registry obligations should contact a Dallas sex crimes defense attorney to review their case. The process of deregistration is complex, and it’s important to have qualified legal representation on your side to secure the best outcome for your future says Dallas Sex Crimes Lawyer Mick Mickelsen.
Broden & Mickelsen, LLP
2600 State St Dallas, Texas 75204
Main Phone: (214) 720-9552
Prior results cannot and do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future case.