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The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield

Failure to Register as a Sex Offender

In Washington State, convicted sex offenders are required to register in accordance with the Washington State Sex Offender Registry. In most circumstances, members of the public, including family members, friend, coworkers, and strangers, will have access to your personal information and the details of your sex crime online. They will also see your picture and home address.

This is not only uncomfortable, but it can also lead to a tremendous stigma. It can make it difficult to get and keep a job, make new friends, meet romantic partners, and overall, settle into a community. However, the discomfort associated with the sex offender registry is not a reason to avoid registration. If you knowingly fail to register when you are supposed to, or update your registration when required, then you can be charged with a crime.

Failure to register as a sex offender can be a misdemeanor or felony charge, and it can lead to incarceration. If you have been arrested for failure to register, call a Tacoma sex offender attorney at The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield, PLLC right away. Or, if you are currently facing sex crime charges and have not yet been convicted, attorney Benfield can aggressively defend you and pursue the best possible outcome. Call attorney Benfield today at or online to schedule a free consultation.

Sex Offender Registration FAQs

If you are currently facing charges for a sex offense in Washington, or if you have been convicted of a sex crime, you should speak with a Tacoma sex offender attorney right away. By hiring an attorney, you are in a much better position to defend yourself and avoid sex offender registration. If you are convicted, then a lawyer will help you properly register and remain compliant within the law.

Some of the most common questions that we receive regarding sex offender registration include:

What is a sex offender?

A sex offender is someone who has been convicted of a sex crime, either under state or federal law. Both adults and juveniles can be labeled as sex offenders.

When does someone have to register as a sex offender?

Most sex crime convictions mandate sex offender registration. If you are convicted of a sex offense in Washington, then state law dictates whether or not you need to register and for how long. Registerable offenses include rape, child molestation, sexual misconduct with a minor, indecent liberties, and many others. You should talk with a sex crime defense attorney about whether the charges you are facing require sex offender registration upon conviction.

How can I view the Washington State Sex Offender Registry?

Washington’s sex offender list is available at CommunityNotification.com. More information regarding the state’s sex offender registry is available at the Washington Association of Sheriff’s and Police Chiefs’ website or the Pierce County website.

Is there a national sex offender registry?

Each state maintains sex offender lists. However, the National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) allows individuals to search for sex offenders in any area of the U.S. and tribal territories.

What are Washington’s sex offender laws?

The Revised Code of Washington (RCW) Chapter 9A.44 dictates the state’s sex offender registration rules. Individuals who have been convicted of crimes defined in RCW 9A.44.128 and 9.94A.030 (The Sentencing Reform Act of 1981) must register as sex offenders.

What is published on the sex offender registry?

The offender’s name, offense, address, physical description, and a recent picture are published online.

Where do I register?

You must register with the sheriff’s office in the county where you live. You may also have to register in the county where you work or go to school if it differs from the county of your residence.

Are there sex offender restrictions?

Sex offenders can face various restrictions in addition to incarceration or alternative sentencing. If the sex offender is under supervision by the Department of Corrections or the Department of Social and Health Services, then they may face restrictions on where they can live, their access to technology, and their proximity and interaction with minors. If you are facing sex crime charges, talk with a Tacoma sex offender attorney regarding any potential restrictions if you are convicted.

What are sex offender levels?

An offender’s tier or offense level implies their likelihood to re-offend and dictates whether their information is publicly published. Tier I offenders, also called Level 1, are not published on the Washington State Sex Offender Registry. Tier II sex offenders, also called Level 2, have a moderate risk of reoffending, and their names and information are published on the public registry. Tier III offenders, Level 3, have the highest risk of reoffending and are also published on the registry.

How long does a sex offender have to register?

The length of time a sex offender must register depends on the level of their offense. Class A felony convictions require on-going registration. The offender may only stop upon petition and approval to superior court. Class B felony convictions require registration for 15 years from the date of the offender’s last release from incarceration. A Class C felony requires registration for 10 years from the date of release from incarceration.

Failure to Register as a Sex Offender Is a Crime

If you are required to register as a sex offender in Washington, and you do not comply, or you fail to properly correct your registration when required, you will be charged with a crime. The failure to register offense is outlined in RCW 9A.44.135. It states that anyone who knowingly fails to comply with the registration requirements under the law is guilty of an offense.

This offense is typically charged as a Class C felony. However, if you have previously been convicted of a failure to register two or more times, in Washington or another state, you will be charged with a Class B felony.

Also, if you are required to register for an offense that was a misdemeanor and not a felony, then failure to register is only a gross misdemeanor offense.

The length of incarceration you face for a failure to register depends on the level of the offense and your criminal history. For a first-time failure to register offense, you may be sentenced to up to one year in custody. For second and additional failures, the term of imprisonment could increase drastically.

Have You Been Accused of Failure to Register?

If you have been arrested for failing to register as a sex offender, call a Tacoma sex offender attorney at The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield, PLLC as soon as possible. Living with the label of “sex offender” is difficult. It feels punitive. However, you must remain complaint.

If you have been accused of violating Washington registration law, attorney Morgan Benfield believes in fighting for your rights and is here to help. Contact us online or call today to schedule a free consultation and learn the best way to defend against these charges.