Washington has a law called the Community Protection Act of 1990. Under this law, sex offenders must register where they live. Neighboring residents get notified when high-risk Level II or III offenders move nearby. This helps make the public aware of convicted offenders living in their community.

For those on the sex offender registry, there may be a way to eventually get their name removed from the public registry. Many hope to regain privacy. Some offenders may be eligible to petition the court for removal from registration requirements. However, to be successful, they must first meet certain criteria.

It depends on their eligibility for relief

Offenders may qualify for removal from the registry depending on the following:

  • Court-assigned risk level classification
  • Number of years already registered
  • Successful completion of treatment programs
  • Having no new offenses or violations

Providing these factors demonstrates that an offender has undergone rehabilitation and is highly unlikely to reoffend. Lower-risk offenders can petition for registry removal after a time. This includes Level I offenders and some Level II offenders. They become eligible to petition after following all registration requirements for 10-15 years. However, the law does not allow higher-risk offenders the option for removal. It permanently requires Level III offenders and some Level II offenders to remain on the registry permanently.

The court’s discretion

Typically, offenders cannot simply stop registering on their own. They must formally petition the court and prove they deserve to have the court remove their registration requirements. The court can deny a petition even if an offender meets the eligibility criteria. Factors like victim statements, unpaid legal fees and a perceived risk of re-offending may lead the court to deny removal.

However, offenders can convince the court to grant removal through a strong petition. This petition must show genuine remorse, personal growth and rehabilitation. Providing evidence of completing treatment programs, maintaining employment and rebuilding their lives also shows there is an extremely low risk the offender will commit another crime.

Petition process

The petitioning process involves many steps. Offenders must compile documentation and attend hearings. They must also show the court they deserve removal based on their circumstances and risk level. Petitions are usually a complex process with no guarantees. So, those considering this process should consult an attorney. An attorney can provide case-specific guidance and strengthen the petition.