registering in austin
what you need to know about registering in austin.
Whether an individual is coming to us from another state, another county in Texas, or from prison, the prospect of starting over in Austin can be overwhelming. There is often a lot to do in the way of practical details, from medical appointments to securing a valid ID to sorting out finances and transportation.
One of a resident’s first priorities upon moving into our Aspire Austin home should be to register with local law enforcement. The reason for this is simple: failure to register within the time frame set for him will be considered a violation of that parole or probation, and can even lead to new charges, so don’t put it off! Typically, sex offenders must make contact with local law enforcement within 7 days of being released, but the safest bet is to make contact as soon as their housing has been established.
WHAT TO DO
Call the Austin Police Department’s SOAR (Sex Offender Apprehension and Registration) Unit at (512)974-6280 within 24-hours of moving in, if you haven’t already. You will set up an appointment with them over the phone. The unit is busy, so your appointment may be set for a week to a month from the date of your call. As long as you’ve made contact, however, you are considered in compliance, regardless of the wait.
WHERE TO GO
The Austin Police Department. Get there early and you won’t have to worry about being on time.
WHAT YOU SHOULD BRING
Bring a valid photo ID (a Texas state ID, driver’s license, or institutional ID). If you have a vehicle, you will also want to bring your license and registration. (It helps to have your VIN number, too.)
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING THE INTERVIEW
Expect the staff to be courteous and professional. This is not intended to be an intimidating experience. Rather, the goal is to capture data and clarify rules and expectations. You will be asked questions about where you’re living and with whom, and asked about any online identifiers, such as social media accounts or email. You will have a picture taken. Staff will also provide you with information about your treatment plan.
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTERWARDS
As part of your ongoing treatment, you will participate in a sex offender rehabilitation program such as SOTP. Your supervising officer will refer you to a treatment provider for a weekly therapeutic engagement that may take place at your parole or probation location or at a therapy office or other venue. You will have assignments you have to complete in order to make progress through treatment. Once you’ve completed your assignments, you will typically graduate from treatment and move to a monthly meeting in what is known as “aftercare”, which will usually continue for the duration of your supervision.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
Keep up with your parole/probation fees. Getting behind with these can lead to unwelcome repercussions. Always communicate promptly with your supervising officer if you anticipate an unavoidable problem with making one of those payments.
You must request permission to go anywhere not on your list of approved locations. If a specific GPS route is prescribed, use it.
Keep all your mandated parole or probation appointments. If you are sick or injured and are physically unable to leave the house, let your supervising officer know.
Promptly report any changes to the information you have on file with the APD. This includes changes to your address, place of employment or schooling, telephone number or email, vehicle license or registration, and more.
The consequences of a failure to comply with the terms of your parole or probation can be serious. Failure to comply with sex offender registration rules can lead to an offender’s probation or parole being revoked, a warrant for his arrest being issued, or the filing of new charges. Make it your top priority to stay compliant.
When in doubt, always ask your PO before doing something or going somewhere. Open and honest communication with your PO fosters a positive relationship where you are much more likely to succeed. Remember the old saying: “It’s better to ask permission than to beg forgiveness”!
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article should be viewed as a general guide at best. Aspire Austin residents should always consider their parole or probation officers to be the ultimate resource and defer to the instructions and information provided by those officers.