Sex Offender Laws in Washington
In the state of Washington, the Department of Corrections (DOC) has been assigned with the responsibility of supervising certain convicted sex offenders.
Supervision entails maintaining a sexual offender registry in which convicted perpetrators of sexual crimes have to register. They are also subject to other restrictions and requirements that the DOC and the courts impose on them. For example, a convicted sex offender may be required to report to a Community Corrections Officer (CCO) who is tasked with ensuring he or she abides by the law.
Sexual offenders’ residential arrangements must be authorized by the CCO. Without the CCO’s prior permission, a convicted sex offender cannot move residence. Also, offenders are prohibited from owning their personal computers. In those cases where they are allowed computer access, their accessibility to certain sites is barred. They are also banned access to any pornographic material. The CCO is authorized to inspect offenders' homes as well thoroughly. There are several other requirements and limitations that they are subject to including alcohol and drugs, employment, weapons, entertainment, treatment and contact with potential victims.
Washington Sex Offender Registry
Sex offenders are required to register if they are:
- Convicted for a sex offense in the state of Washington under RCW -9A.44.128(10)(a) – (g). Some of the crimes for which registration is compulsory are rape or rape of a child (first, second or third degree), child molestation (first, second or third degree), sexual exploitation of a minor, incest (first or second degree), sexual misconduct with a minor (first or second degree) and possession of child pornography.
- Out-of-state, tribal, federal, military conviction of a sexual offense
- The out-of-state, tribal, federal, military conviction that is considered a sex crime in Washington
Within 24 hours of being released from prison, those convicted sex offenders required to register must do so. Sexual offenders, who move within the state or those who move out of state, must register or if already registered, must inform the authorities before moving.
Class A - Indefinite registration is required for all Class A convictions in Washington state; two or more sexual offense convictions or out-of-state, tribal, federal, military convictions. Sexual offenders can petition the court to come off the register. If the sexual offender is a resident of Washington, he or she can petition to be removed after spending 10 or more years in the community. For offenders who are not state residents, a request can be made after 15 years in the community. Convicted juveniles have to allow for a period of 2 to 5 years on the register depending on their age at the commission of the crime.
Class B – These convictions carry a mandatory time of 15 years on the registry. Sexual offenders convicted of a Class B sex offense can request to be removed from the register. Convicted adults who have spent ten years in the community can petition a sheriff. Convicted adults who have spent 15 years in the community without a disqualifying offense, can request the sheriff’s office to be taken off the register. Juvenile sex offenders stay on the register for 2 to 5 years, depending on their age when the crime was committed.
Class C or Gross Misdemeanor – A time of 10 years on the registry is compulsory for these crimes. Adults convicted of sexual offenses and who have remained in the community for ten years, without any disqualifying offense, can petition the sheriff's office to be released from their registry duties. Convicted juveniles have to wait for 2 to 5 years, depending on their age when the crime was commissioned, before being allowed off the register.
Sexual, violent predator or adult convictions – Adult convictions for rape (first or second degree) or indecent liberties with forcible compulsion (after June 8, 2000) or sexually violent predators cannot petition the court to be removed from the register. They have to stay on it for life. However, they can request the court to stop community notifications if they have been in the community for 15 years without any convictions for a disqualifying offense.
Note – Class A, B, C or Gross misdemeanor may request for registry removal only if they have not been convicted of a disqualifying offense.
For a complete guide on Registration of sex offenders visit RCW 9A.44.130 - https://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9A.44.130