Record Sealing

img criminal bg checkSealing a Juvenile Offender Record

The Laws regarding the sealing of juvenile records have changed a great deal over the last several years. The information provided below is meant to be a general introduction to a topic that can be complicated. If after reading this information you have specific questions regarding your own case, you should consider contacting a lawyer.  Also please remember that court staff and officials are not permitted to give you legal advice.

Record Sealing Information

  1. The Cowlitz County Juvenile Department maintains records of cases where the offense was committed in Cowlitz County or where the legal case was transferred to Cowlitz County after guilt was found in another county. The original County will need to be contacted to request that their record be sealed.
  2. Each Juvenile Court File has its own case number and record so each case has to be treated separately. Some of these Court Files may be eligible for sealing while others may not. Some may have already been sealed through the Administrative Sealing Hearing process or through a Motion to Seal.
  3. Generally a Juvenile Court Case Record is not eligible for sealing if any of the following is true:
    • You have a pending criminal charge as a juvenile or adult including warrants
    • Your record is for any of the following offenses. 
      • Rape 1
      • Rape 2
      •  Indecent Liberties with case of actual Forcible Compulsion
    • You owe restitution to anyone in the case other than an insurance company.
    • You are still required to register as a sex offender.
    • If your record is for an A felony and it has been 5 years or less since your conviction or release from confinement and/or if you have been convicted of another crime within that 5 years.
    • If your record is for a B Felony, C Felony, Gross Misdemeanor, Misdemeanor or diversion and it has been 2 years or less since your conviction or release from confinement and/or you have been convicted of another crime within that 2 years.
  4. Administrative Sealing Hearings are set at the time of disposition and do not require offender presence at the hearing. At this hearing the Judge reviews whether a case is eligible for sealing. If it is eligible, the court seals the juvenile record. It NOT eligible, then a Contested Administrative Sealing Hearing is set and the offenders presence will be required.
  5. Motion to Seal: Come to the Cowlitz County Juvenile Department and request the Record Sealing Request Form. You will need photo identification to start this process. The receptionist can attempt to get the information you might need to complete the form. Once you complete the Request Form you will be given instructions and a packet to complete within one week. Oncethe paperwork is returned to the juvenile department, specific instructions will be given about the case and the clerk will set a court date and time for a hearing. 

If you have questions about the criteria for record sealing review the Guide to Sealing and Destroying Juvenile Record, or look up RCW 13.50.260, or consult with an attorney.

Sealing Court files requires a court hearing but before it gets to court you must complete documents, file documents and notify agencies. Our office can give you information about your cases but you are responsible for completing and forwarding all the required documents.

If you are from out of the area and not able to come to the Cowlitz County Juvenile Department in person you can down load the Record Sealing Request Form and send it via mail to Cowlitz County Juvenile Court, 1725 First Ave., Longview, WA 98632 or through the contact below. You will be contacted with further instructions at that time. 

Brenda Snyder

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Tags: Juvenile

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HALL OF JUSTICE
312 SW FIRST AVENUE
KELSO, WA 98626
 
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