The sex offender registry lists the names and other identifying details, such as addresses, of people who have been found guilty of sex-related criminal offenses. The purpose of the registry is to protect potential victims from people who may target them and to help parents protect their children from people who have a history of predatory behavior. The popular image of sex offenders is that they are monsters, which is why another reason for the existence of the sex offender registry is to deter people from committing offenses that would result in a permanent loss of reputation if they were caught and convicted of these crimes. Imagine, then, the nightmare of having this social stigma attached to your name when your particular situation is not nearly as bad as it sounds. Almost anyone can agree that some sex-related offenses are less serious than others. For example, indecent exposure (such as public urination) is certainly a lesser offense than rape, so do they both deserve equal stigma? Texas laws say no, which is why Texas has passed some legislation in the past few years in order to deal with the matter of the sex offender registry in a less heavy-handed way. In some cases, it is even possible to get one’s name removed from the registry.
Laws Regarding the Texas Sex Offender Registry
Chapter 62 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is the section on Texas law that establishes the sex offender registry and lists the crimes for which a conviction necessitates registration. Some sex-related crimes carry lifetime listing on the registry as part of their penalty, while others only require the offender’s name to be listed for a pre-determined period, such as 15 years. House Bill 867 of 2005 establishes instances in which a registered sex offender can have his or her name removed from the registry and establishes the process for doing so. Furthermore, the “Romeo and Juliet” laws of 2011 stipulate that it is not a crime for teenagers who are close in age to have a sexual relationship, even if only one of the teens is a legal adult. (Except for within the age limits specified in the Romeo and Juliet laws, the law holds that a minor cannot legally consent to sexual activity with an adult; it considers all such activity sexual abuse or assault.)
Removing One’s Name from the Sex Offender Registry
To be eligible for having his or her name removed from the registry, an offender must have completed all court-ordered treatment. Only certain offenses are eligible for deregistration; the most severe offenses require lifetime registration. Generally, an offender can be deregistered if the Texas registration requirements are less strict for his or her offense than the federal requirements. If eligible, the offender may submit an application for deregistration to the Council on Sex Offender Treatment. If the council approves the application, the offender may then petition the court to have his or her name removed from the registry.
Contact Madrid Law About Sex-Related Offenses
Madrid Law provides legal representation for defendants who have been accused of sex-related crimes. Contact Madrid Law in Houston for a consultation.