Sex Offender Registration Removal

Many individuals who have to register as a sex offender mistakenly believe that the requirement to register as a sex offender automatically goes away after a period of time if you stay out of trouble, and for some offenses this is true. However, for juvenile offenses and many of the more serious adult offense you have to file a petition to a judge and give notice to the prosecutor to request the removal of this requirement. For other adult offenses, you can ask to have the requirement lifted in as little as 10 years, which again requires a petition be filed with the Court.

Given the current political climate surrounding sex offenders and sex offender registration, those who seek registration removal need to present a strong case that shows that they pose little to no threat to the community. Poorly drafted petitions with little to no documentation to support them are unlikely to help the person seeking removal of this invasive, burdensome requirement.

At The Meryhew Law Group, our defense team routinely files petitions to ask courts to remove this difficult requirement for our clients. We have successfully convinced courts to relieve clients of their registration obligations for a wide variety of sex offenses.

Call us today for a free consultation to see if you are eligible for sex offender registration removal. Below are frequently asked questions pertaining to sex offender registration removal.

Due to the number of calls we receive, we ask you fill out this questionnaire and we will respond to you by phone or email, generally within 48 hours. If you appear to be a candidate for registration removal, we offer a free initial consultation in our offices to discuss your case and the fees to help you. This explanation does NOT establish an attorney/client relationship, but is meant to be a starting point for people and families to educate themselves about the laws that affect them. Removing the duty of sex offender registration is a time-consuming process, so take the first step today and consult us sooner rather than later.

How Many Years Do I Have to Wait After I Have Been Convicted to Ask the Court to Remove the Requirement That I Register as a Sex Offender?

It depends on the conviction. The requirement for some offenses will expire automatically after ten or fifteen years, and for others you must petition the court or you will be required to register for the rest of your life. For those offenses where you must petition the Court to ask that the requirement be lifted, see the chart below:

Type of Conviction(s)Can you be relieved from the duty to register?

Class A convictions in Washington State

Two or more sex offense convictions or

Out-of-State, Tribal, Military, Federal Convictions

Answer: Yes, you can be relieved.

This means your duty to register lasts until a judge you no longer have to.

For WA State adult convictions if you have spent 10 years in the community you can ask a judge to lift the required.

For all other adult convictions, if you have spent 15 years in the community you can ask a judge to lift the required

For juvenile, you have to wait 2 or 5 years depending on age at time of crime.

If you were found to be a sexually violent predator

and/or

An adult conviction for Rape in the First Degree, Rape in the Second Degree, or Indecent Liberties with Forcible Compulsion that happened AFTER June 8, 2000

Answer: No, you cannot be relieved.

You can only ask a judge after 15 years of being in the community without any convictions for a disqualifying offense to relieved from community notification.

Any conviction for a Class B sex offense in Washington State

Answer: Yes, you can be relieved.

For adult convictions if you have spent 10 years in the community you can ask a judge to lift the required.

For juvenile convictions, you have to wait 2 or 5 years depending on age at time of crime.

Any conviction for a Class C or Gross Misdemeanor in Washington State

Answer: Only juvenile convictions can be relieved early and everyone else must wait 10 years in the community.

For juvenile convictions, you have to wait 2 or 5 years depending on age at time of crime.

Who Has to Petition?

Any person convicted for a Class A felony in Washington State, two or more convictions for sex offenses, out-of-state conviction, tribal conviction, federal court conviction, military conviction, or a juvenile conviction must petition for relief. A person convicted of a Class B in Washington State can petition for relief early at 10 years in the community.

For Washington State adult convictions for Class A felonies, Washington State convictions for Class B felonies, and two or more sex offense convictions, you must in the community for 10 years without any disqualifying offenses before bringing a petition for relief.

For out-of-state, tribal, military, or federal convictions, you must in the community for 15 years without any disqualifying offenses before bringing a petition for relief.

If you were convicted of as an adult for a Class A sex offense in Washington State with forcible compulsion after June 8, 2000 or were determined to be a Sexually Violent Predator, you cannot petition for relief from the duty to register as a sex offender. However, after 15 years in the community, you can seek to remove the community notification requirements.

Automatic Registration Removal

Offenses where the duty automatically expires after a period of time are for Washington State convictions only:

  • Class B Felony: 15 years following release from confinement, including probation violations, or when the judgment and sentence was signed and the person does not have a conviction for a disqualifying offense.
  • Class C Felony: 10 years following release from confinement, including probation violations, or when the judgment and sentence was signed and the person does not have a conviction for a disqualifying offense.
  • Gross Misdemeanor: 10 years following release from confinement, including probation violations, or when the judgment and sentence was signed and the person does not have a conviction for a disqualifying offense.

Just because the law says your duty has expired does not mean the sheriff or police will automatically take you off the rolls. Sometimes we must convince them to make that change, and you should not count on this happening automatically.

What is a Disqualifying Offense?

For Washington State adult convictions, class B felonies, class C felonies, gross misdemeanors, out-of-state, tribal, military, and federal convictions, a person must not have a disqualifying offense before petitioning the court or asking the sheriff’s office to relieve you from the duty to register.

A disqualifying offense is a conviction for any felony, any crime against a person, any crime against children, any sex offense, two more convictions for failure to register, any crime with the domestic violence designation, permitting the commercial sex abuse of a minor, or any violation of Chapter 9A.88. For complete list of all disqualifying offenses, click here.

Juvenile Sex Offense Convictions and Lifting the Duty to Register

If you were under the age of 18 at the time of the offense you are subject to the juvenile relief statute RCW 9A.44.143. That includes juvenile convictions from other states and often includes when you were charged in adult or superior court for something that happened when you were under 18 years old.

To determine if you are eligible, we must first determine what your age was at the time of the offense, NOT when you were convicted or charged.

If you were 15 years old at the time of the offense and convicted of a Class A felony, you be in the community for five years before bringing the petition without any convictions for failure to register or a sex offense. You cannot have any convictions for failure to register or sex offenses in the 5 years before filing the petition.

For all other cases, including Class B or Class C felony convictions, you must be in the community for 2 years without any convictions for failure to register or a sex offense. You cannot have any convictions for failure to register or sex offenses in the 2 years before filing the petition.

In most cases, once you are remove the duty to register you can have your conviction vacated and sealed. For more information about juvenile sealing, please see our Sealing the Record of Conviction for Juvenile Offenders page of our website.

How Can I Remove the Requirement That I Register as a Sex Offender?

Once you have been in the community long enough without any new criminal offenses, our defense attorneys can file a petition in the superior court where you were convicted or for out-of-state convictions in the country where you reside to request that the judge remove this requirement.

What Information Will the Court Consider in Deciding Whether to Remove the Requirement That I Register as a Sex Offender?

You must convince the judge that you are rehabilitated to warrant removal from the central registry sex offenders. For adult convictions, you must prove this by “clear and convincing evidence” that further registration will not serve the purposes of the registration statute. For juvenile convictions or convictions that happened when you were under the age of 18 but you ended up being charged in adult court, you must prove that your rehabilitated by “the preponderance of the evidence”.

The Court considers 13 discretionary factors in both adult and juvenile petitions. Those factors are:

  1. The nature of the registrable offense committed including the number of victims and the length of the offense history.
  2. Any subsequent criminal history.
  3. The petitioner's compliance with supervision requirements.
  4. The length of time since the charged incident(s) occurred.
  5. Any input from community corrections officers, law enforcement, or treatment providers.
  6. Participation in sex offender treatment.
  7. Participation in other treatment and rehabilitative programs.
  8. The offender's stability in employment and housing.
  9. The offender's community and personal support system.
  10. Any risk assessments or evaluations prepared by a qualified professional.
  11. Any updated polygraph examination.
  12. Any input of the victim.
  13. Any other factors the court may consider relevant.
What Information Will You Use to Convince the Judge That I Should Not Have to Register as a Sex Offender?

Our petitions include a detailed history about you that will include information about your:

  • Employment history
  • Education history
  • Mental health history
  • Relationship history
  • Counseling history
  • Substance abuse history (if applicable)
  • Sex offender treatment history
  • Criminal history
  • Support network
  • Impact of registration on your life
  • Letters of support from your family and friends

We work closely with you to develop compelling reasons for why you should no longer have to register as a sex offender. We work closely with you to develop compelling reasons for why you should no longer have to register as a sex offender.

How Will You Develop This Information?

When you meet with our attorneys, we will ask you to sign releases for any counseling and treatment records. We will meet with you several times to take a complete social history so that we can advocate for you as strongly as possible to the judge. If necessary, we will assist you in obtaining updated sexual deviancy evaluations and sexual history polygraphs to show the court that you pose little to no risk of committing a new crime. We will also contact any law enforcement or Department of Corrections officials who can speak well of your compliance with your judgment and sentence.

It can be extremely beneficial or helpful to your case to do an updated polygraph and updated risk assessment. Our attorneys are skilled in working with people to identify the strongest path when seeking relief from the duty to register. Contact us today to see if you are eligible.

Is Removing the Requirement to Register the Same as Removing the Record of My Conviction?

NO. Removing the requirement to register will have no impact on removing the record of your conviction. Currently, the law only allows certain juvenile convictions to be removed and sealed. Like the sex offender registration removal requirements, these requirements are complicated and require a thorough understanding of the law. To determine if you are eligible to have your conviction vacated, please call our office to set up an appointment. To learn more about juvenile sealing please see Sealing the Record of Conviction for Juvenile Offenders page of our website.

Get it right the first time.

Seeking relief from sex offender registration requires a thorough, detailed understanding of the laws. Courts can be unforgiving if you don't follow all of the rules with precision. When you need help removing your sex offender registration, call the lawyers who work on these issues every day.