Sex Offender Record Expungement: Washington State

If you have a past offense that requires you to register as a sex offender in Washington State, it may be possible to remove that requirement and have your record sealed. However, it is vital that you do this properly, as failing to comply with a sex offender registration requirement is a felony itself.

Ending Your Sex Offender Registration Requirement

Though there has been some push to end sex offender registries completely as ineffective and unfair, Washington currently maintains a sex offender registry, and failure to comply with a registration requirement will result in a new felony charge.

Fortunately, in many cases, it is actually possible to have this requirement lifted. The biggest step to sex offender record expungement in Washington State is to “be relieved of your duty to register as a sex offender.”

This happens automatically in many cases after a given amount of time, provided that you commit no new offenses. In other cases, you can petition the court to relieve you of your requirement. There are also instances where you can appeal a sex offender registration requirement.

Everyone’s case and situation will be different, so you should speak with an attorney in order to determine if you will be eligible to end your registration requirement.

CONTACT US TODAY TO DISCUSS YOUR CASE.

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CONTACT US TODAY TO DISCUSS YOUR CASE.

When can someone end their registration requirement?

The rules for ending a sex offender registration requirement differ depending on the sort of conviction you have, and how old you were when you were convicted.

If your conviction was as a Juvenile:

If you were convicted of a Class A sex offense or kidnapping offense as a juvenile 15 years or older, the waiting period is 5 years. In all other cases, the waiting period is 2 years before you can appeal a sex offender registration.

1) For class A sex offenses or kidnapping offenses committed when the petitioner was fifteen years of age or older, the court may relieve the petitioner of the duty to register if:

  • (a) At least 5 yearshave passed since the convictionand completion of any term of confinement and the petitioner has not been adjudicated or convicted of any additional sex offenses or kidnapping offenses within the sixty months before the petition;
  • (b) The petitioner has not been adjudicated or convicted of a violation of RCW 9A.44.132 (failure to register) during the 5 yearsprior to filing the petition; and
  • (c) The petitioner shows by a preponderance of the evidence that the petitioner is sufficiently rehabilitated to warrant removal from the central registry of sex offenders and kidnapping offenders.

2) For all othersex offenses or kidnapping offenses, including Class B, Class C, Misdemeanors, and Class A felonies committed before the petitioner turned 15. The court may relieve the duty to register as a sex offender if:

  • (a) At least 2yearshave passed since the convictionand completion of any term of confinement and the petitioner has not been adjudicated or convicted of any additional sex offenses or kidnapping offenses within the 2 yearsbefore the petition;
  • (b) The petitioner has not been adjudicated or convicted of a violation of RCW 9A.44.132 (failure to register) during the 2yearsprior to filing the petition; and
  • (c) The petitioner shows by a preponderance of the evidence that the petitioner is sufficiently rehabilitated to warrant removal from the central registry of sex offenders and kidnapping offenders.

If your conviction was as an Adult:

If you were designated a “sexually violent predator,” or if you committed a Class A felony that entailed “forcible compulsion,” sex offender record expungement in Washington State is not possible, as state law requires that you remain a registered sex offender for the rest of your life.

For others with lesser sexual offense convictions, your registration requirement ends automatically after 10 years for Class C felonies, and 15 years for Class B felonies. You can also petition the court to end your requirement after 10 years.

The requirement to register as a sex offender actually ends automatically in many cases. For example the requirement to register will end automatically pursuant toRCW 9A.44.140 :

  • 10 years after a Class C Felony
  • 15 years after a Class B Felony

However, individuals who have been convicted as adults and designated ‘sexually violent predators’ or have been convicted of Class A Felonies that involve ‘forcible compulsion’required to register for their entire lives.

Everyone else can petition the court to end their registration requirement as long as they have spent 10 years in the community without a disqualifying offense, as allowed by RCW 9A.44.142.

How to get a registration requirement ended: If your requirement does not end automatically, you will need to petition the court to lift your requirement. The court will schedule a hearing to consider your petition, and will want to know about several factors, including any other criminal history, your work history, your living situation, what your family life looks at, and the court will often want to see an updated psychiatric evaluation aimed at determining whether you pose a risk.

Costs, timelines, and odds of success:

Cost: The price for our services in petitioning the court to lift your registration requirement will vary depending on which county we are working in, and the complexity of your case. Most cases will range between $1500.00 and $2000.00 though the price may be higher in some cases. There may also be additional costs, this is especially if a new psychiatric evaluation is necessary, it is impossible to say exactly what those costs would be without reviewing your individual case.

Timeline: Most petitions to end sex offender registration requirements can be resolved within 60 days,  depending on how backlogged the court is, and how much time it takes to gather the supporting evidence we require. If it is necessary to obtain a psychiatric evaluation, the process will be delayed while that is being obtained.

Odds of Success: Petitions to end sex offender registration requirements are at the discretion of the court. This means that the Judge has almost total power to decide whether or not to grant a petition. Given this reality, it is impossible to guarantee success in these petitions. However, the stronger a case you put forward to the court, the more likely you will be to find success. We strive to assemble the strongest arguments for ending your requirements, as well as the best available supporting evidence. We work with the prosecuting attorney’s office in an effort to gain their cooperation, as the support of the prosecutor can be a key factor in swaying a Judge.

Let Findley & Rogers Guide You Through the Legal Process

At Findley & Rogers, we can help you navigate the law to appeal a sex offender registration requirement or pursue sex offender record expungement in Washington State. This can help you get your life back on track, whether it comes to job opportunities, apartment applications, firearm rights restoration, or custody agreements.

Contact us today and get the conversation started.

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