This is the next post in our series of articles discussing the termination of sex offender registration obligations in Little Rock, Arkansas. Our previous post reviewed the eligibility requirements for sex offender deregistration in the state of Arkansas. Offenders who have been charged with more serious or violent sexually-related crimes or multiple offenses will not be eligible for the process. Those who are not automatically prohibited from deregistration may apply after the expiration of the mandated fifteen-year waiting period. Once eligible, applicants must meet strict procedural and evidentiary requirements. This article will discuss the process one must follow to terminate sex offender registration obligations. To help ensure that you meet the state’s requirements, it is imperative to work with a criminal defense attorney throughout the process. If you need assistance, contact our office to speak with a lawyer.
As previously discussed, the first step in the deregistration process is to determine whether or not you are eligible to apply. While the Arkansas eligibility requirements appear to be straightforward, they can become complex under some circumstances. Before completing an application, individuals are encouraged to consult with counsel to understand their options. Once eligibility is confirmed, the offender must complete the application process. Because the application is the initial document that will be presented to the Court, the importance of one’s responses and the information provided cannot be overstressed. After receiving an application, the Court will schedule a hearing to review the matter. Within twenty days of the hearing date, a copy of the application must be served on the county prosecutor where the original conviction occurred or, if the person’s conviction happened outside of Arkansas, on the county prosecutor when the applicant resides. In addition, a copy must be provided to the Arkansas Sex Offender Registry and the Community Notification Assessment department.
At the hearing, the applicant and all interested parties are permitted to present witnesses and evidence, either in support of or challenging the request. Interested parties may include prosecutors who were involved with the underlying offense, victims and their families, mental health experts, probation officers, or others who have relevant information to the case. The applicant should be prepared to present information such as the completion of educational or rehabilitation programs, lack of other criminal charges, or community service activities. It is important to understand that the burden of proving that one no longer poses a risk to others lies with the applicant. It is, therefore, imperative to present as much supporting evidence as possible. For example, if an offender has participated in multiple treatment programs and become a counselor for other offenders following his sentence, this information may impact a Court’s decision. Evidence indicating that the defendant has changed their life and poses little risk to the community in the future may make the difference between success or failure. An experienced attorney can help you gather and present this information to the Court on your behalf.
Our lawyers have extensive experience in criminal defense cases, including sex offender deregistration matters. We take pride in vigorously representing our clients’ interests. If you need assistance, contact us today to speak to a lawyer. In addition to Little Rock, we also handle matters in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, Rogers, Pine Bluff, and throughout the rest of Arkansas.