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Petitioning for Relief from Sex Offender Registration Requirements

A mistake in life, even a serious one, shouldn’t define you for the rest of your life. It is possible if a person stays out of trouble for a sufficient period of time that he can ask a court to lift the requirement that he register as a sex offender. Filing a petition like this takes courage. You are dredging up a part of your past that you would rather forget and putting yourself out there. However, often times it a step that can close a chapter on an incident that does not reflect your true character.

The time period that a person must wait varies based on the seriousness of the offense, whether the offense was committed in-state or out-of-state, and whether the person was convicted as an adult or a juvenile. A person does not make the request of the judge who sentenced him, rather the request is made as a petition in a new file. By law, the judge is supposed to look at the following factors in determining whether to lift the sex offender registration requirement:

  • The nature of the offense that required registration in the first place.
  • Any criminal history that occurred after the conviction for the sexual assault.
  • Whether the person complied with the requirements of his probation.
  • How long ago the offense was.
  • Any input from the treatment provider, probation officer, and law enforcement.
  • Employment history and stability of housing.
  • The offender’s support system in his family or in the community.
  • Any risk assessment that has been done.
  • Any input from the victim of the offense.
  • The results of any relevant polygraph examination.

By law the petition to drop the registration requirement must be filed in the county where the offense was committed i.e. where the individual was sentenced. If the offense is from out of state, you must file the petition in the offense where you reside. When a petition is filed it is helpful to collect some letters of support from friends and family who can attest to a person's character and how they are reformed. If a judge does grant the petition, this does not necessarily restore a person's firearm rights or remove the offense from a person's record.

If you or a loved one has a sex offense on their record, and they are interested in learning about having the registration requirement dropped, have them reach out to our law firm for a free consultation. We can handled case throughout most of eastern Washington. See also our page on rape in the second degree.