Washington State sex offender laws can feel complicated, leaving you with more questions than answers when you register as a sex offender. What can you not do? What can you still do? For how long?
Every Washington resident deserves to understand their rights. For those facing the burden of sex offender status and the stereotypes that come with that, it’s even more important to understand your options.
For example, did you know that the right legal team may be able to help you avoid or decrease charges related to sex offenses in Washington? The team at Will & Will can help you understand how sex offender laws in Washington State apply to your situation, as well as your options to improve your future.
What Happens When You Register as a Sex Offender?
Under the Revised Code of Washington, Section 9A.44.130, anyone who has been convicted of a sex crime or found not guilty of a sex crime by reason of insanity must register with the sheriff of the county they live in.
If you are being released from custody after incarceration for a sex crime or after being sentenced but not incarcerated, you must register as a sex offender immediately. If you are a new resident of Washington, you have three business days to register.
Depending on the crime you are convicted of, you may be required to register as a sex offender for life, indefinitely, for 15 years, or 10 years. Keep in mind that failing to register can result in serious criminal penalties.
Sex offenders in Washington state are classified into three levels:
- Level I – Low risk of committing another sex crime
- Level II – Moderate risk of committing another sex crime
- Level III – High risk of committing another sex crime
The Washington Sex Offender Public Registry is visible to the public via the internet, but only those classified as Level II or III offenders are displayed.
Even if you have already been convicted of a sex crime, you may have questions or even legal options to improve your situation. Contact the Seattle sex crime lawyers at Will & Will to discuss your unique case. We understand Washington State sex offender registration laws and can help you improve your future.
Washington State Sex Offender Registration Laws
If you’re unsure about the regulations that registered sex offenders must follow, this section will provide some clarity. Here are six important sex offender laws in Washington state.
1. Sex Offenders Can’t Use Alcohol or Drugs While Under DOC Supervison
Unless an exception is granted, as a registered sex offender in Washington, you cannot use alcohol or drugs while under community supervision with the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC). Any mood- or mind-altering substance not prescribed by a doctor will be off-limits until your community supervision is over.
2. Sex Offenders May Need to Get Their Living Arrangements Approved
As a registered sex offender who is still under community supervision, you are not allowed to move without permission from the DOC. You must get your new address approved by your community corrections officer (CCO). This means you cannot make a sudden cross-state move without doing at least a little planning beforehand.
3. As a Registered Sex Offender, You May Not Be Able to Own a Computer
This is not always the case, but sex offender laws in Washington State may hold that you cannot “own or control” a personal computer while you are under community supervision. If you are permitted to own a computer, your CCO may set up site-blocking software. Being unable to use a computer may limit your ability to apply for jobs and connect with friends and family.
4. Registered Sex Offenders Cannot Travel Out of the Country Without Notice
Under the Revised Code of Washington, Section 9A.44.130, you must provide written notice of your intention to travel outside of the country to your county sheriff’s office at least 21 days before your date of departure. That means no last-minute trips outside of the United States can take place.
5. Sex Offenders’ Ability to Own Weapons May Be Limited
Felony sexual offenders in Washington are not allowed to have or use ammunition or guns. Your right to own a firearm cannot be restored as long as you have a felony on your record.
6. As a Registered Sex Offender, You May Need to Notify Your Sexual Partners
Washington State sex offender laws for those who are under community supervision may even reach into relationships. Before you begin a sexual relationship, you may be required to notify your potential partner (and your CCO).
You May Have Legal Options
Will & Will, is a husband-and-wife criminal defense team that knows Washington State sex offender registration laws inside and out. Even if you have already been convicted and are required to register as a sex offender, you may have legal options.
We will work closely with you to understand your situation and listen to your concerns. Then, we will put our 35 years of experience to work to get the best possible outcome for you. To get started, call us at 206-209-5585 or contact us online.