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Who has to register as a sex offender in Washington

Under Washington law, anyone convicted of a sex offense must register as a sex offender.  This means adults and all juvenile offenders.  

Washington State Convictions

RCW 9A.44.128(10) lists all the felony and misdemeanor sex offenses in Washington that trigger a registration requirement:

  • Rape in the First Degree
  • Rape in the Second Degree
  • Rape in the Third Degree
  • Rape of a Child in the First Degree
  • Rape of a Child in the Second Degree
  • Rape of a Child in the Third Degree
  • Child Molestation in the First Degree
  • Child Molestation in the Second Degree
  • Child Molestation in the Second Degree
  • Sexual Misconduct with a Minor in the First Degree
  • Sexual Misconduct with a Minor in the Second Degree
  • Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
  • Incest in the First Degree
  • Incest in the Second Degree
  • Indecent Liberties (with or without forcible compulsion) 
  • Possession of Child Pornography
  • Dealing in Depictions of Child Pornography
  • Selling or Bringing Child Pornography into the State
  • Promoting Commercial Sex Abuse of a Minor
  • Promoting Travel for Commercial Sex Abuse of a Minor
  • Communicating with a Minor for Immoral Purposes
  • Kidnapping in the First Degree if the victim is a minor and the offender is not the minor's parent
  • Kidnapping in the Second Degree if the victim is a minor and the offender is not the minor's parent

You are also guilty of committing a sex offense if you are convicted of attempting to commit or conspiring to commit a felony sex offense

This list also includes convictions for non-sex felonies when there is a court or jury finding of sexual motivation.  This means you committed the crime for the purpose of sexual arousal or sexual gratification.  

Example:  You break into your neighbor's home at night and steal money.  A jury finds you guilty of burglary but also finds that you committed the burglary to commit a sexual offense against one of the homeowners.  You are guilty of Robbery in the Second Degree with a finding of sexual motivation. 

Federal / Out-Of-State Convictions

The statute also includes any out-of-state, military, or tribal conviction for an offense for which the person was required to register as a sex offender.

Example #1You are an active-duty soldier and plead guilty to a low-level sex offense while you are stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.  Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, you are required to register as a sex offender.  Therefore, you are also required to register under Washington state law.  

Even if you are not required to register under federal law or another state's law, you are still required to register if the offense that you committed qualifies as a sex offense under Washington law.  

Example #2: Let's say a Nisqually tribal court finds you guilty of a crime that does not carry a registration requirement under Nisqually law, but the crime you committed involved storing pornography at your house.  You have to register as a sex offender under Washington law because possession of child pornography carries a duty to register. 

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