If you’ve been convicted of a sex crime in Texas, you may have been required to register as a sex offender with the Department of Public Safety. This means that you’ve likely paid for your crime in more ways than one.
Perhaps you’ve had difficulty finding employment. Or experienced harassment from neighbors. Or possibly even been restricted from living in certain areas or participating in various events in your community.
You may not be aware, however, that this registration isn’t necessarily permanent, and you could qualify to deregister from the database by meeting the proper criteria. This post offers guidance on removing yourself from the Texas Sex Offender Registry in four easy steps.
Step 1: Check Your Eligibility
Your first step is to submit an application to the Council on Sex offender Treatment. It includes questions about your conviction or adjudication, your participation in a Sex Offender Treatment Program, and a list of supporting documentation you would need to provide with your completed application.
Based on your submission, the Council will determine whether you meet the requirements. In Texas, you must only have been convicted of one crime requiring sex offender registration. You also have to have completed a treatment program in order to qualify.
A criminal defense attorney experienced in sex crimes can help you determine whether you meet other eligibility requirements for deregistration, fill out your application, and locate any supporting documentation.
Step 2: Schedule & Attend an Evaluation
Once you are approved to deregister by the Council on Sex offender Treatment, your next step is to contact a deregistration specialist and schedule an in-person evaluation. There are a number of evaluation specialists available, and an experienced Ft. Worth criminal attorney can provide guidance on how to select the right one for you.
The evaluation entails two parts – one written, one oral – and typically takes between three and four hours. Your paperwork and the assessment are sent back to the Council for review, and a copy of the report is then sent to you or your attorney.
Step 3: Petition the Court
If your assessment reflects and the Council agrees that you have met the criteria to deregister, you will then petition the court to have your name removed from the registry. You and your attorney will appear in the court where you were originally sentenced to petition for release from the registry. If the judge approves, he or she will grant you a signed court order.
Note that you are not required to have an attorney for any of this process. However, oftentimes courts know very little about the deregistration process. Working with a sex crimes attorney can greatly improve your chances of being allowed to deregister.
Step 4: Submit Your Court Order for Removal
Last, when you or your lawyer receives the order, you can submit a copy to the DPS, and they should remove your information from the registration database within a reasonable period of time. An attorney can also assist in resolving any issues or delays during the processing of your deregistration after the order has been submitted.
A few minutes reviewing the Initial Eligibility Checklist to determine whether you qualify to deregister could change your life. If you’ve done the required time for your crime, it is your right to move on.
About the Author:
Brandon Fulgham has an in-depth understanding of both Texas law and Texans themselves. Before practicing law here, he received his undergraduate degree from TCU, and his law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston. After graduation, he worked in District Attorneys’ offices as a prosecutor, building cases designed to put people behind bars. Now, he uses that knowledge to protect the rights of people in and around Fort Worth, making sure they receive the strongest possible defense when they find themselves on the wrong side of the law. He has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, Fort Worth Magazine, and others.