Sex offenses are widely defined and include rape, child molestation, possession of child pornography, promoting prostitution in the first degree, communicating with minors for immoral purposes, and many other offenses (RCW 9A.44.128).
If you have been convicted of a sex crime, you will have to register as a sex offender. But what does that entail? And if you have a failure to register as a sex offender, what are the penalties?
In this article, we’ll answer your questions about registering as a sex offender. Keep reading to learn more.
What it Means to Register as a Sex Offender
If you have been convicted of a sex crime, you will have to register as a sex offender. To register, you must contact your county sheriff in person. This registration will be on your record for a set amount of time (RCW 9A.44.130).
A sex offender registration will follow you throughout the duration of the registry. For instance, if you attend a school or will be employed at a school for higher education, the school district and the principal will be informed of the registration. If you are a student and classified as a risk level II or III, your teachers will be notified as well (RCW 9A.44.138).
When Does the Requirement to Register Start?
You must start registering after you are convicted. Of note, in many jurisdictions in Washington State, there are separate plea and sentencing hearings. You are not required to register until after your sentencing date.
Once you have been sentenced, you have three business days from the day you are released from custody to register. If you are not sentenced to jail/prison at all, that means you have three business days from the date of your sentencing hearing.
How Long Does the Registry Last?
The length of time that you are registered will depend on the crime you have been convicted of. Washington state has four different levels of registration: lifetime, indefinite, 15-year, and 10-year timelines (RCW 9A.44.140).
Here is a comprehensive list of convictions and how long you will need to stay registered if you are convicted.
Failure to Register as a Sex Offender Penalties
The penalties for failing to register as a sex offender differ depending on the crime you have been convicted of and how many convictions you have had (RCW 9A.44.132). Here are the penalties:
Failure to register as a sex offender is a class C felony if it is your first conviction. Class C felonies can result in five years of confinement and/or a fine of $10,000.
If on two or more occasions, you have been convicted of a felony or failed to register as a sex offender, it is a class B felony. Class B felonies can result in ten years of confinement and/or a fine of $20,000.
If you have not been convicted of a felony and have failed to register as a sex offender, it is a gross misdemeanor. Gross misdemeanors have a maximum confinement period of 364 days and/or a maximum fine of $5,000 (RCW 9A.20.021).
Are There Exceptions Where You Don’t Have to Register as a Sex Offender?
Some exceptions can relieve you from your responsibility to register as a sex offender. If any of the following situations apply to you, you can petition to not register as a sex offender in Washington state (RCW 9A.44.142, RCW 9A.44.143):
- If the offense was committed while the offender was a juvenile and has not been determined to be a sexually violent predator.
- When the person has spent ten consecutive years in the community without being convicted of a disqualifying offense, has not been determined as a sexually violent predator, and/or has not committed a class A felony.
- If you show clear and convincing evidence that you have sufficiently rehabilitated to warrant removal from the registry of a sex offense.
Have You Been Convicted of a Sex Crime in Washington State?
If you have been convicted of a sex crime, a qualified criminal defense attorney can help!
Will & Will has over 35 years of experience successfully defending individuals against sex crime charges. This dedicated husband and wife team will personally work tirelessly with you to ensure you get the best results possible in your unique case. Their personal approach, years of experience, and thousands of successfully-resolved cases make these sex crime defense attorneys second to none.
Get started with a free consultation by contacting Will & Will today!