New juvenile records sealing law heading to the governor for signature

Senate Bill 5564 has been signed by both the senate and house and is heading to Governor Inslee for signature (who is expected to sign the law). The law will make it easier for juveniles to seal their criminal records and dispose of debts that they cannot pay.

Under the new law, after disposition (i.e. sentencing) on a juvenile offense, the court will set the case for an administrative sealing hearing after the individual’s eighteenth birthday (or later) to make sure the case is sealed if all the requirements are met. If a case that could be sealed somehow falls through the cracks, the individual can also file a motion to seal the record, and get a hearing that way. At the hearing, the court shall seal the record so long as the offense is not a most serious offense, a sex offense under chapter 9A.44 RCW, or a felony drug offense, and some other conditions are met. If the offense is one of those more serious offense, it may still be sealed, but there are other applicable rules.

Before sealing the record, the individual will have to pay off all of the restitution to the victim of the case, unless the victim is an insurance company. However, if the victim is ok with it, the court can covert the restitution amount to community service. The new law also allows the juvenile to reduce or eliminate the interest they previously had to pay on their case.

The new law is attempting to make it easier for juveniles convicted of crimes to assimilate back into the community and be productive members of society.