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How do you file a motion to remove your Sex Offender Registration requirement in Washington

What court do I file my petition?

Under RCW 9A.44.142, you must file your petition to remove your registration requirement in superior court. 

You must file your petition in the superior court in the county in which you were convicted of the registrable offense

If your conviction took place outside Washington or in federal, military, or tribal court, you must file in the county in which you are currently registered.

Example #1:  Your conviction is for rape in the second degree out of Whatcom County Superior Court but you now live in Vancouver.  You must return to Whatcom County to file your motion to remove your registration.

Example #2: You were convicted of child molestation when you were living in Florida.  Now you live in Tacoma.  You don't have any sex offenses in Washington State.  You must file your petition in Pierce County Superior Court.

You cannot file your motion in a district or municipal court, or your petition will be automatically denied and you will have to start all over again.

Do I have to vacate my sex offense to remove my registration requirement


You are eligible to file a petition to remove your registration requirement once enough have time has passed.  Your eligibility has nothing to do with removing your conviction.  

In most cases, you cannot ever remove a sex offense from your record.

The court denied my petition.  Can I appeal?


You can appeal the trial court's ruling to the Court of Appeals.  You must file an appeal within 30 days of the judge's decision.

An appeal is not a second trial.  You do not get to present additional evidence or call additional witnesses. Furthermore, the issue on appeal is not whether the appellate judges would have granted your petition had they heard the case.  The standard on appeal is whether the trial judge committed abuse of discretion

Abuse of discretion occurs when the trial judge applied the wrong legal standard or decided the case on irrelevant or inappropriate facts.  Or the judge's ruling did not have any factual support in the record. 

Similarly, the State can appeal if the trial court grants your petition and terminates your duty to register. 

Will the victim know I'm seeking to terminate my registration?

Very likely yes.

You are required to notify the prosecutor when you file a motion to remove your sex offender registration.  Upon receiving the motion, the prosecutors are required to make “reasonable efforts” to locate the victim of the crime, either by phone, mail, or email.  

This doesn't necessarily mean the victim will appear in court and object, but there's always that possibility.  And you should assume that the victim will be objecting—probably strongly objecting—to your petition.

Do I have to pay a court fee to file a petition to terminate my registration?


The court does not assess a filing fee for petitions to remove sex offender registration in Washington.

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