Sex Offender Registration

Seattle Sex Offense Consequences Attorney

The requirement to register as a sex offender can be devastating to a person’s entire life and lead to the loss of work, friends and housing. The rules for those required to register are complicated and grow more complicated each year. At The Meryhew Law Group we have successfully defended people against charges of Failure to Register. If you are charged with Failure To Register contact the Meryhew Law Group to discuss your options and the best defense.

But we go one step further when we can. We also have experience getting the Court to remove the requirement to register at all for those who face that requirement. Many of those who have served their sentences and lived a crime free life for a period of time have earned the right to ask the Court to remove the requirement. We have experience in juvenile and adult courts in getting these requirements removed.

Brad Meryhew has been a leader in Washington in efforts to reduce the size and impact of the sex offender registry and to create a path for our clients to be relieved of the duty to register. Through his work on the Sex Offender Policy Board, Brad has championed many reforms that have been adopted by the Legislature to make relief from the duty to register a reality for our clients and offenders all over Washington.

At The Meryhew Law Group, our Seattle sex offender registration lawyers advocate and counsel. We believe that clients who are informed and who understand what the law is, how the justice system works, and what to expect, are better prepared to succeed later on, regardless of how their current problems are resolved. Many of our clients have questions about the sex offender registration process. The following information may be able to provide you with some answers. If you wish to review more detailed information and guidance regarding the many issues involved with removal of sex offender registration, please review our Frequently Asked Questions for Sex Offender Registration .

Failure To Register As A Sex Offender

If a person who is required to register knowingly fails to register, or moves to a new residence without notifying the county sheriff, or if they change their name without notifying the county sheriff and the Washington State Patrol, or if they fail to comply with several other requirements and time limits, cam be found guilty of a felony and not only go to jail or prison but have their period of registration extended. At the Meryhew Law Group we have extensive experience helping our clients resolve these charges. In some cases we have been able to get the underlying duty to register removed for a juvenile offense leading to dismissal or significant reductions in the pending felony charge. In other cases we are able to explain why our client failed to meet the technical requirements of the law in order to mitigate their actions and get a significantly lower sanction. Defending clients on these charges requires a great deal of knowledge regarding these complex laws, which is what the Meryhew Law Group has to offer.

Relief From The Duty To Register As A Sex Offender

The law in Washington has allowed those convicted of sex and kidnapping offenses to be relieved of that duty under certain circumstances since sex offender registration was first imposed in the Community Protection Act of 1991. Washington law currently provides for a hybrid approach to ending the duty to register as a sex or kidnapping offender, with some offenses resulting in the automatic termination of the duty after a specified period of time in the community without any new serious criminal convictions, while other offenses require the person to petition the Court for a discretionary ruling on their request. Only a relatively few offenses have lifetime registration without any mechanism to be relieved of that duty. The duty to register in Washington as well as the length of the requirement and the terms for ending the duty to register, are based upon the date and the offense of conviction, and the person’s age at the time they committed the offense.

Relief From Sex Offender Registration For Juvenile Offenses

For offenses committed while the person was a juvenile (and prosecuted in juvenile court), RCW 9A.44.143 can offer a rather quick method to obtain relief from registration. Juvenile offenders are allowed to petition the Court from relief from registration in either 2 or 5 years after their case is resolved, depending on their age and the offense. But that path requires that the person file a petition with the court seeking to have a discretionary request for relief granted by an elected official. This isn’t always easy, and carefully preparing the petition to fully tell our client’s story is often the key to success in these petitions.

Sealing Juvenile Sex Offense Records Of Conviction

Juvenile sex offense criminal records can now be sealed for juvenile offenders who have no new convictions of any kind for a period of time. If a person has been relieved of the duty to register as a sex offender, and waited the requisite period of time, the record of conviction can be sealed so that it no longer appears on background checks. This is something that can actually enable a juvenile offender to live a normal life, but it requires a great deal of work to accomplish.

Community Notification Risk Level Classification

Sex offenders in Washington are classified based on their risk to the community as Level I, II or III. Level I offenders pose the least risk and do not appear on the state’s Offender Watch web site and are not subject to flyers being mailed to neighbors when they move to a new neighborhood. The Sheriff's Office will set a level of risk, and for those deemed most at risk flyers are sent to the community and your name and picture appear on a web site for your neighbors, employers and others to search. We work hard to insure that our clients are made a Level I so that they avoid the infamy of the flyers in the neighborhood and the listing on the Offender Watch web site. We have also successfully convinced the Sheriff to reduce that level for clients, which meant they were removed from the web site and community notification was stopped. If the local police have raised your risk level we can help.

Who Must Register?

Any adult or juvenile who has been found to have committed or been convicted of, or found not guilty by reason of insanity of any sex offense or kidnapping offense involving a minor is subject to sex offender registration if the reside, attend school or work in the State of Washington. This duty applies even if they lack a fixed residence and are homeless.

By law you must register as a sex offender if you have been convicted of any of the following crimes:

  • Rape 1, 2, or 3
  • Rape of a Child 1, 2, or 3
  • Child Molestation 1, 2, or 3
  • Sexual Misconduct with a Minor 1 or 2
  • Indecent Liberties
  • Incest 1 or 2
  • Kidnapping 1 or 2
  • Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
  • Possession of Child Pornography
  • Dealing in Depictions of Child Pornography
  • Sending, Bringing Into the State Child Pornography
  • Communication with a Minor for Immoral Purposes
  • Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor
  • Promoting Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor
  • Promoting Travel for Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor
  • Failure to Register as a Sex Offender Second Offense
  • Any Federal, Military or Out of State conviction for an offense comparable to a Washington Sex Offense.
  • Any felony with a finding of sexual motivation
  • Any gross misdemeanor that is an attempt to commit a felony sex offense
The Sex Offender Registration Process

If you are a new resident, a returning resident, a student, or are employed in the state of Washington even on a temporary basis, you must register with the County Sheriff where you reside or work within three business days of your arrival in that County, and within three business days of moving to any new address. All offenders required to register must appear in person at the sheriff's office in their county of residence and provide the following:

  • Name
  • Date and Place of Birth
  • Address
  • Place of Employment/School Attending
  • Crime for which Convicted
  • Date and Place of Conviction
  • Alias(es)
  • Social Security Number

The county sheriff will photograph and fingerprint the person and send this information to the State Patrol. While under probation or community supervision, a registered sex offender must immediately notify their supervising agency of any changes to their address, phone, or employment situations.

Client Testimonial:

"Smart; professional; and ethical, Brad is an excellent source of information and resources. He showed genuine concern for our family. Brad's advice and counsel at the free initial meeting was priceless. He even helped us locate appropriate counseling." CD, Satisfied Client, Seattle, Washington.