This is the next post in a series of articles discussing sex offender deregistration in Laredo, Texas. My previous article discussed the eligibility requirements for pursuing deregistration. To qualify for this process, one must meet very specific legal parameters related to their underlying offense and sentencing terms. The rules are designed to limit deregistration to a very select population and can be difficult to understand. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help evaluate your eligibility. Qualifying individuals must be aware that the legal process often requires significant time and effort. In this article, I will discuss the deregistration process and explain what one may expect throughout. If you are considering deregistering, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
It goes without saying that terminating one’s obligation to register as a sex offender can be extremely beneficial. As previously discussed, however, even those eligible to apply should understand that deregistration is a multi-step process. Initially, an individual must apply for deregistration through the Council of Sex Offender Treatment, the agency responsible for establishing registration guidelines. Applicants are required to submit a variety of information with their application in support of their request. This generally includes information such as current background check results, state and federal criminal history reports, and court documentation related to the underlying offense. Other relevant documents related to the offender’s successful completion of post-conviction treatment, probation, or parole may also accompany the application. After reviewing the application materials and verifying eligibility, the Council will notify the applicant about whether they are approved to proceed with the process. If so, they must submit to an assessment by a licensed Deregistration Specialist. The assessment is designed to determine whether the person continues to pose a risk of committing a future sex-related crime. To that end, the assessor will conduct an interview and mental health evaluation as well as review the complete case history. The results of the assessment are submitted back to the Council for review.
Following the assessment, a Motion for Deregistration is filed with the trial court that issued the sentence for the underlying offense. The Judge will give considerable weight to the results of the assessor’s report. Additionally, they will be interested in reviewing all relevant information supporting or challenging the individual’s request. Under Texas law, the Judge retains full discretion to grant or deny a deregistration request. Given the eligibility restrictions, deregistration proceedings are not extremely common. Judges are typically less familiar with the process than with normal court activities. Therefore, it is imperative that the applicant’s Motion provide as much supplemental documentation in support of the request as possible. This may include information such as the completion of educational programs such as receiving one’s high school diploma, G.E.D., or college degree. A clean background check showing a lack of further criminal activity after the underlying conviction and documents demonstrating community service activities may be persuasive. For example, if the individual obtained a college degree in counseling, and has dedicated their post-conviction life to helping offenders and victims, this information would likely be viewed favorably in support of his application. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you identify supporting documentation and present such information to the Judge on your behalf.
If you are required to register as a sex offender in Texas and are considering the deregistration process, contact my office today to speak with a criminal defense lawyer. My office also serves clients in other areas of south Texas.