Accusations of a sex crime can carry long-lasting consequences, beyond fines or jail time. Washington requires people in the state with sex crime convictions, whether they permanently reside here or not, to register as a sex offender. Living under these requirements can be burdensome, and failure to register can result in further penalties. A sex crimes lawyer in Auburn, Bellevue or else where in Washington with experience in the Washington legal system can help you understand your rights and obligations, review the circumstances of your individual case, and ensure that all registrations and notices comply with the law.
Who Must Register, and Where
Anyone in the state of Washington with a conviction of a sex offense, as described in Revised Code Washington § 9A.44, must register with the sheriff of the county where they reside, work, or attend school. This requirement also applies to anyone found not guilty of a sex offense by reason of insanity. If a person is incarcerated, they must register with an official designated by the state or federal prison system.
Information Required for Registration
People required to register must provide their full name and any aliases, date and place of birth, social security number, employment address, and residence address. They must identify the crime for which they were convicted and the date and location of the conviction. Finally, they must provide a photograph and fingerprints. A person without a permanent residence in the state must provide the address where they plan on staying and must report to the sheriff in person once a week. Changes of address must be reported within three business days.
Deadlines to Register
People required to register must do so within three days of one of the following:
- Release from incarceration;
- Sentencing, if incarceration is not part of the penalty;
- Moving into the state of Washington; or
- Release from the state department of social and health services, if the person was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Penalties for Failing to Register
Knowingly failing to register as a sex offender after a felony conviction is a class C felony, and a class B felony for subsequent failures. For a misdemeanor sex crime conviction, failure to register is a gross misdemeanor. Prosecutors must prove that a person “knowingly” failed to register.
Relief from Registration Requirement
Certain people, provided their conviction did not involve an aggravated or “predatory” offense, may petition for relief from the obligation to register as a sex offender:
- People whose convictions occurred when they were juveniles, regardless of the state where the conviction occurred;
- People with Washington convictions who have lived in the state for ten years with no “disqualifying convictions,” defined as sex crimes or other violent offenses; or
- People with out-of-state convictions who have lived in Washington for fifteen years with no disqualifying convictions.
If you have been charged with an alleged sex offense in western Washington, including Tacoma, an experienced criminal attorney can help. I have defended people charged with sex crimes and other alleged offenses throughout Washington and obtained significantly lesser sentences, acquittals after trial, and outright dismissals for our clients. Contact us today for your confidential case evaluation, or call (888) 212-4824