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Appealing Your Sex Offender Registration Requirement
Though there has been some push to end sex offender registries completely, Washington State currently maintains a sex offender registry, and failure to comply with this registration requirement will result in a new felony charge.
Fortunately, in many cases, it is possible to petition to be removed from the sex offender registry. The biggest step to sex offender expungement in Washington State, when it is possible at all, is to “be relieved of your duty to register as a sex offender.”
The requirement ends 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.
If you were designated a “sexually violent predator,” or if you committed a Class A felony that entailed “forcible compulsion,” petitioning to be removed from the sex offender registry is not possible. In these cases, state law requires that you remain a registered sex offender for the rest of your life. Sex offender expungement is not possible.
For Class A felonies other than those described above your registration requirement never ends on its own, but it is possible to petition the court to lift your registration requirement once 10 years have passed.
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. At this time, it is not always possible to obtain a sex offender expungement of your record, and terminating your registration requirement is all that can be accomplished for many adult sex offenses.
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 requirement.
Sealing Your Record & Vacating Past Convictions
Once you are no longer required to register as a sex offender, the next step is to make sure you have fully paid any court-mandated restitution.
Then, as long as you have no other criminal convictions or pending criminal proceedings, you can proceed with sealing your criminal record, vacating prior convictions, and petitioning the court to be removed from the sex offender registry.
Frequently Asked Questions on Ending Your Sex Offender Registration Requirement
In most cases, yes! While sex offender expungment itself is often very difficult or impossible to achieve in Washington State, the opposite is true when it comes to your requirement to register as a sex offender: Most of the time, you can eventually escape this requirement.
To end or appeal sex offender registration requirements, you must take action. It will not happen for you automatically. We highly recommend you hire an attorney to guide you through the process so that you get all your paperwork right and make the strongest possible case to the court.
Under RCW 9A.44.142, there are two main ways to end your registration requirement:
- If the underlying sex offense was committed when you were a juvenile, you stand a very good chance of being able to end your registration requirement.
- If you have spent 10 consecutive years without being convicted of a new “disqualifying offense” (i.e., most crimes), you are also eligible to petition the court to end your registration requirement.
To succeed, you must show the court “clear and convincing evidence” that you are rehabilitated enough that you deserve to be removed from the sex offender registry. An attorney from Findley & Rogers can help you through this process so that you have the greatest chance of success.
- Note: Ending your requirement to register as a sex offender is not the same as sex offender expungement of your underlying sex offense. That will still be on your record.
Ending your requirement to register as a sex offender is an important, and often necessary, step in moving forward following a sex offense conviction. However, when you end or appeal your sex offender registration requirement, this will not restore your gun rights by itself. Currently, the only way to restore firearm rights following a sex offense conviction would be through a governor’s pardon.
Additional steps down that road may include sex offender expungement and sealing your adult or juvenile criminal record.
Let Findley & Rogers Guide You Through the Legal Process
At Findley & Rogers, we can help you with sex offender expungement and appealing sex offender registration requirements.
Our experienced sex offender expungement attorneys can help you figure out your exact requirements or pursue petitioning the court to be removed from the sex offender registry 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.