What Can’t a Registered Sex Offender Do?
It is important for defense counsel to fully inform their clients the extreme hardships they will face as a registered sex offender. Being a listed offender entails much more than verifying an address and having a photograph on the registry.
SOR impacts every area of a registrant’s life – personal relationships, employment, housing, travel, and mental health. Parents who are registered sex offenders cannot participate in their child’s school activities because the student safety zone does not allow them to “loiter” within 1000 feet of an elementary, middle or high school. School districts and law enforcement liberally construe loiter to include parent/teacher conferences, sporting activities and the like. SOR is not a collateral consequence of a sexual conviction. It is a direct, punitive consequence that has major implications on a person’s life.
The real travesty is that the registry is destroying non-dangerous person’s lives forever. Not only is the registrant punished, but so are his or her children, spouse, family and friends. The registry is a scarlet letter that cannot be hidden from society. Should our young wear this letter for the rest of their lives? Should their lives be ruined because of a sexual exploration and experimentation?
There is a process in Texas which allows some people to “de-register.”
Step One. Applicant should confirm that he/she has one reportable conviction or adjudication for a sexual offense. If an applicant has more than one reportable conviction or adjudication for a sexual offense, then STOP. The Applicant is ineligible to seek the early termination of his/her obligation to register.
Examples: An applicant’s Order of Conviction or Deferred Adjudication Order recites two or more separate counts for sexual offenses. That person is ineligible.
- Only convictions or deferred adjudications handed down by Texas courts may be considered.
- A Deferred Adjudication Order is treated the same as a conviction pursuant to the Adam Walsh Act or federal law.
IF YOU HAVE ONLY ONE REPORTABLE CONVICTION OR ADJUDICATION, THEN PROCEED TO STEP TWO.
Step Two. An applicant should then go to the Texas Department of Public Safety Public Sex Offender Registration website here: https://records.txdps.state.tx.us/SexOffender/PublicSite/Index.aspx. Near the middle of the page on the DPS website is a link to “Texas Offenses Tiered Under the Federal Adam Walsh Act”. This will take you to the list published by the DPS containing reportable convictions and adjudications, by Texas Penal Code citation, that compare minimum registration requirements in Texas and under the federal law for a given offense.
Step Three. Locate on the DPS list your particular Texas Penal Code citation relating to your reportable conviction or adjudication. The minimum registration period for your reportable conviction must
EXCEED the minimum registration period under the federal law, or Adam Walsh, in order to move on to the next step.
An applicant must also meet any other criteria required on the DPS list, including but not limited to, the age of the victim at the time of the offense, the difference in age between the victim and the offender, and specific fact patterns related to the offense where required.
Key Point: Only Texas convictions can be considered for deregistration purposes under this statute. No out of state convictions or adjudications are eligible even though the prospective applicant lives in Texas.
In General, What De-Registration Doesn’t Mean
It is important to know what deregistration IS NOT. If an individual is removed from the registry…
- It does not remove the individual from nonpublic law enforcement registries.
- It does not remove DNA from law enforcement registry
- Deregistration cannot be used to appeal or expunge a sex offense
- Deregistration does not affect probation or parole status –even if someone is allowed to deregister, the person must complete his or her term of supervision.
- Sex offense will still be part of the individual’s criminal record, so the sex offense shows up when he or she applies for jobs.
- Deregistered individuals will still be ineligible for jobs with children.
- Deregistration is not publicly funded. If an individual wants to deregister, the individual must pay for his or her own deregistration.
- An individual can apply for deregistration but it is still up to the court to approve deregistration.