Penalties for sex crimes are very serious in Texas, and having to register as a sex offender carries lifelong consequences.
Sex offender registries are public, and Texas law does not impose restrictions regarding how the information can be used, according to HG.org. Teachers can use it to see if there are sex offenders around a school. Parents and neighbors can use it to check if there are sex offenders in a neighborhood. Employers can use it to influence their hiring process.
Who has to register as a sex offender in Texas?
Individuals convicted of certain sex crimes will be required to publically register as sex offenders. The offense determines the length of time you’ll be required to keep your name on the registry – it can be ten years to life, according to HG.org
Implications of being a registered sex offender
According to HG.org, having to register as a sex offender has several drawbacks. Sex offenders may have more difficulty finding employment. They may be restricted from living in certain areas. Their rental applications may be denied. Neighbors may harass them. Often, registered sex offenders face continuous harassment and prejudice from law enforcement.
When most people think of sex crimes, they think of the most violent and shocking stories they’ve seen on the news. But sometimes, registered sex offenders were convicted of sex crimes even when they felt that there was consent and maybe didn’t even know they were breaking the law.
According to Psych Central, being registered as a sex offender means that you are constantly at risk of intense prejudice without people knowing the facts of your story. No matter the details or degree of your crime, your name will appear alongside the most serious and violent offenders.
The Marshall Project shares the personal stories of two people who are registered as sex offenders even though they never intended or wanted to commit a crime. These two individuals simply had consensual sex with people that they reasonably assumed were over the age of 18.
Can you ever have your name removed?
Texas law provides a procedure for individuals to remove their name from the sex offender registry through a process called deregistration. Under this process, an offender can have his or her name removed when he or she meets certain criteria, according to HG.org. Many sex offenders are required to complete years in sex offender counseling. Through the counseling process, mental health professionals may determine that the sex offender is not a risk to the public. The deregistration process allows a defendant to escape the stigma of being listed as a sex offender but also adheres to strict safeguards to protect the public.
But the deregistration process never offers a guaranteed outcome. To receive deregistration, an individual must receive approval from the Texas Council on Sex Offender registration. The application also needs to include an assessment regarding the defendant’s limited risk of reoffending from a qualified professional. Additionally, the application should include a current criminal history check that shows that the defendant has not re-offended as well as a court order that describes the original conviction. A judge on the case determines whether or not to grant the request for deregistration (sometimes called early termination) from the sex offender registry.
Only certain types of sex crime convictions can result in deregistration. HG.org lists crimes such as online solicitation of a minor, possession or promotion of child pornography, indecent exposure, unlawful restraint or compelling prostitution as potentially eligible for deregistration. There may always be exceptions depending on details such as the ages of the involved parties or additional circumstances surrounding the crime.
Violent crimes are typically never qualified for deregistration.
Deregistered does not remove a person’s criminal record, and it also does not remove any information that would prevent law enforcement from seeing the conviction, according to HG.org.
How can a criminal defense attorney help?
If you are facing criminal charges that could lead to you having to register as a sex offender, a criminal defense attorney can help you find your best path forward. In some cases, an attorney might be able to help reduce or remove your charges. If you are already registered as a sex offender, an attorney might be able to help you navigate the process of having your name removed from the registry earlier than your sentence originally allowed for. With over 12 years of experience, Juan Tijerina is here to fight for your side of the story.
Call our McAllen office at (956) 261-5609 or contact us online today!
4016 N. 22nd Street
McAllen, Texas 78504
Phone: (956) 261-5609
Phone: (512) 900-1126