Terminating sex offender registration requirement is an important step toward re-integrating a convicted sex offender back into society and and normalizing that person’s life. Particularly for those who made a mistake in their youth or even as an adult, removing this ‘scarlet letter’ from your life is critical and, in most cases, very doable. And in light of the recent successful effort by Donna Zink to have the previously unpublished names of level 1 (lowest level) offenders released, the need to terminate for those eligible to do is even more urgent: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/crime/article70555867.html
Its complicated figuring out exactly who is eligible and when and terminating can be tricky particularly if someone is objecting, but it is my hope that this post provides a little bit of guidance.
“Lifetime” Regimentation Requirement
First the bad news. Persons who have been deemed “sexually violent predators” and those that have been convicted of Class A Felony sex offenses committed with “forcible compulsion” have a lifetime obligation and thus cannot petition to terminate their lifetime registration requirement. However, even those who cannot petition to terminate their registration requirements can still petition the court to be relieved of the “community notification” aspect of registration 15 years after their release to the community without disqualifying new offenses.
“Indefinite” Registration Requirement
People with an “indefinite” registration requirement can, in most cases, petition to terminate after 15 years in the community with no new disqualifying offenses. RCW 9A.44.128 defines “Disqualifying offense” as “a conviction for: Any offense that is a felony; a sex offense as defined in this section; a crime against children or persons as defined in RCW 43.43.830(5) and 9.94A.411(2)(a); an offense with a domestic violence designation as provided in RCW 10.99.020; permitting the commercial sexual abuse of a minor as defined in RCW 9.68A.103; or any violation of chapter 9A.88 RCW (indecent exposure, prostitution offenses).”
The law recognizes that juveniles should not be held to the same standards as adults when it comes to responsibility for criminal acts because juvenile brains simply haven’t developed all of the judgement and maturity to always make good choices. That along with environmental and social factors add up to cutting juvenile offenders a little more slack when it comes to terminating their obligation to register. So juveniles who committed their offenses while under the age of 15 can generally petition to terminate after two years. Juveniles who committed their offenses at age 15 or older must wait 5 years to terminate.
Class “B” and “C” Felonies
The registration requirement stemming from single convictions for Class “B” and “C” felonies expires after 15 years for “B” felonies and 10 years for “C” felonies. However, the person may be eligible to petition for early termination 5 years before expiration, i.e., after 10 years for Class “B” and 5 years for Class “C”.
Still wondering whether you or a loved one is eligible to terminate? Please call to make an appointment for a free consultation.