Sealing Juvenile Sex Offenses

Records of juvenile sex offenses do not automatically disappear when a juvenile turns eighteen.  They are open to the public until sealed by a Judge.  When a motion to seal records is granted, the proceedings in the case are to be treated as if they never occurred and the records are not available to the public.  Prior to 2010 juvenile sex offenses could not be sealed and certain offenses are excluded from sealing.  Sealing a record of a juvenile sex offense is not easy.  In most cases, the prosecutor will oppose the motion.  The victim will have the opportunity to state their opinion about whether or not the case should be sealed. Michele has extensive experience preparing and presenting motions to seal juvenile sex offenses.  Through extensive work in this area Michele has also built positive relationships with the prosecutor’s office and treatment providers.  Maintaining a positive relationship with these two groups helps determine the right time to bring a motion successfully.  

Offenses Excluded from Sealing

Currently, Rape in the First Degree, Rape in the Second Degree, and Indecent Liberties Committed with Actual Forcible Compulsion cannot be sealed.

When to Bring the Motion

Depending on the type of crime, you must wait two or five years to request that your record be sealed from the date of release from confinement or, if no confinement was imposed, the date of disposition.  Prior to bringing this motion, you must first be granted Relief from Sex Offender Registration.  These motions should not be brought simultaneously.  The date you are eligible to seal your record may also depend on other factors, such as additional criminal charges.  In some cases, it is helpful to wait longer than the statutory period to request that your record be sealed.  Michele will evaluate your particular circumstances and determine when it is most likely that you will prevail in a motion to seal.

Preparing for Your Motion

A motion to seal a juvenile sex offenses requires a detailed approach and the presentation of multiple documents to the Court.  At a minimum, you will need a letter from a certified sex offender treatment provider, an updated polygraph examination, letters of support, and a formal petition to request that the record be sealed.  Michele will guide you through this process and ensure your petition covers all the necessary criteria and includes the required documentation. 

Community Resources

Juvenile Record Sealing Project
Street Youth Advocates of Washington