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Deregistration of Sex Offender

In Texas, the requirement to register as a sex offender depends on the crime; it may be as short as a few years, or as long as a lifetime. Re-registration to keep the authorities up to date on your location and activities, and can be required annually or, for more serious offenders, every 90 days. You have to provide your name and address, and your registration as a sex offender is publicly available.

Registration can limit and complicate many aspects of your life, including travel. If you are on the registry and spend enough time in a different city, you will have to register there as well. If you remain on the registry, there’s always the chance that you will fail to comply with all the requirements and find yourself facing prosecution for a felony for failure to register as ordered.

Texas Law on Deregistration

Earlier deregistration is possible under two different mechanisms provided by the Code of Criminal Procedure:

  • Completion of the registration exemption process for young offenders (Article 301 terminations).
  • Completion of the early deregistration process for other offenders (Article 401 terminations).

Exemption for Young Adult Offenders

Article 62.301 offers young offenders who have committed only one relatively minor offense the opportunity to petition the court for an order that exempts them from the registration requirements. The petition can be filed any time after the sentencing.

Exemption from the registration requirement is not automatic under Article 62.301. The court holds a hearing and grants the exemption only if it finds all of the following:

  • The offense was not without the victim’s consent.
  • Public safety won’t be threatened by granting the exemption.
  • Exemption serves the victim’s best interests.
  • Exemption serves the best interest of justice.

In making that decision, the court is allowed to consider any information and evidence that the court thinks will help it reach the right decision. This includes the testimony of the victim and their family, as well as the nature of the relationship between the offender and the victim. Once an order of exemption is granted, it stays in effect unless the court withdraws it upon being notified that the person has been the subject of another conviction.

Article 401 Early Terminations

Texas provides a mechanism for sex offenders other than young adults to end their registration obligation early. The procedure is lengthy and complex, reflecting the state’s concern for the safety of the public. A person trying to get an early termination of the registration requirements must:

  • Ensure that you have only one reportable offense (even multiple counts in an indictment will disqualify you).
  • Ensure that you have already exceeded the minimum registration time required for his offense.
  • Apply to the Texas Council on Sex Offender Treatment to have that body perform a deregistration evaluation (the application must be accompanied by an extensive list of documents needed for the Council to determine your eligibility).
  • If the Council finds you meet basic eligibility criteria, it will arrange for you to be evaluated by a licensed deregistration specialist, who will prepare a report.
  • You file a motion for early termination with the court that originally sentenced you.
  • That court can either grant a hearing on the motion or deny it peremptorily.

At the hearing, the court has the discretion to grant or deny early termination and can consider any evidence relevant to public safety.

Get Help from an Experienced Texas Sex Crimes Attorney

Both mechanisms for terminating registration requirements in Texas are technical, and it doesn’t take much for the early termination request to be denied. Your chances of success are increased considerably by enlisting the aid of a Texas sex crimes defense lawyer who understands the process. You can get the help you need by contacting the Houston, Texas, firm of Mary E. Conn Law.

Mary E. Conn is a top-rated sex crimes attorney with more than 30 years of experience successfully assisting the accused. Whether you are just thinking about seeking early termination or are neck deep in the process, she can help. Call Mary E. Conn today to learn how we can help. Your consultation is free.