As of November 1, 2023, most juveniles will no longer have to register as a sex offender and be eligible to seal their convictions. Law enforcement will start removing eligible people from the registry soon and mailing letters confirming they have been removed. If you receive a letter indicating that you have been removed from the registry, please contact our office for a consultation to determine if you are eligible to seal your offense.

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Who qualifies for sealing juvenile records in Washington?

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2024 | Criminal Defense, Juvenile offenses |

Young people who have learned from past mistakes are eager to move forward. In Washington State, individuals can remove their juvenile criminal records from public access for a fresh start.

Washington law allows the sealing of several types of juvenile records, including arrest reports, court documents, law enforcement records, detention records, and probation records. Here, we will explore who qualifies for sealing juvenile records in Washington and which records can be sealed.

Requirements for sealing juvenile records

Individuals must meet specific criteria to qualify for sealing juvenile records in Washington, like good behavior and rehabilitation, among other requirements, including the following:

  • The individual is 18 years old or older.
  • The individual completes all terms of their juvenile court disposition, including probation, community service, or restitution orders.
  • After the most recent offense, the individual will wait for a specific period. This is overall a two-year period for misdemeanors and five years for class A felonies.
  • During the waiting period, the individual should not have subsequent criminal convictions as a juvenile or an adult.
  • The individual does not have any pending criminal charges.
  • The individual has covered fines and restitution fees related to their juvenile court case.

Law enforcement could remove an individual from the sex offender’s registry to qualify for sealing juvenile records. If so, it is essential to ask for legal assistance to have the guidance and support needed to ensure a different outcome.

Updates To Washington Law Around Youth Sex Offender Registration

As of November 2023, far fewer young offenders will need to register as a sex offender. This is a major change to Washington law, and you or your child may have received notice of this as part of a statewide mailing. The law can seem confusing, but essentially, juveniles with non-violent sex offenses may be eligible for a full removal from the sex offender registry list and for a full sealing of their record.

A juvenile record can significantly hinder opportunities for education, employment, and housing as it may carry a stigma that affects how others perceive the individual. Sealing these records may become the means to allow people to rehabilitate and change, thus leading to a more successful integration into society.