Thursday, June 21, 2012

Can Failure to register as a sex offender get expunged?


This question and answers come from an online "Ask a Lawyer" site.

Question by its Texas viewer:
As a minor I was charged with a aggravated sexual assault "this is not on my record" what is on my record is a failure to register as a sex offender. I was in the middle of moving houses and I didn't comply with my registration, is there anything I can do about the failure to register as a sex offender that is on my record? I would no longer have to register as a sex offender in 2013 because i was a minor when this happened.

Answer Lawyer-1:
If your Failure to Register charge resulted in a criminal conviction, you cannot expunge the arrest. Unfortunately, the conviction and the arrest will remain on your record. If the charge was dismissed or you were acquitted, you should speak with an attorney about getting an expunction of your arrest record on that charge. Good luck to you.

Answer Lawyer-2:
Unfortunately, you're not going to be able to get those records expunged if you were convicted or received any kind of felony probation, including deferred adjudication. I was prepared to answer that you wouldn't even qualify to have the records nondisclosed ("sealed"), because being required to register will normally make you in eligible. I went to look at the statute that says that so I could quote you the exact language, and now I'm not so sure about that. Here's the statute section that potentially disqualifies you:

Section 411.081 Texas Government Code

(e)...A person is not entitled to petition the court under Subsection (d) if the person was placed on the deferred adjudication community supervision for or has been previously convicted or placed on any other deferred adjudication for:

(1) an offense requiring registration as a sex offender under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure;

If you were adjudicated for a sexual assault case as a juvenile offender, rather than being handled as an adult, I believe you'd only be considered to be "convicted" if you ended up going to TYC or got certified as an adult. I could be wrong about that, and I'd have to look it up to be sure, but I think there may be a loophole there specifically because of it being a juvenile offense. I would imagine that the DA would probably oppose it, realistically, which would mean you'd have to have a contested hearing so the judge could decide 1) if my theory about your actually not having a sexual assault conviction is a valid way to look at the situation, and 2) whether it would be "in the best interest of justice" (which means the judge can do whatever seems right to them, and there's no way to appeal the decision). But given your lack of other options, I think a nondisclosure might be worth going after. Good luck.
Page cited from which may have more Answers

No comments: