Record Sealing

When a teenager gets arrested or goes to court, they may end up with a juvenile record. Many people think that their juvenile record will be automatically destroyed or sealed when they turn 18. But in Washington State that is not always true.

Juvenile offender records keep people from moving on with their lives. Records can keep someone from getting loans, financing or public benefits. They might have an effect on housing. They might make it hard to access education and employment. But changes to Washington State law in 2014 and 2015 were meant to make clearer pathways for sealing juvenile records on the road to independence.

We all deserve a chance to learn from our mistakes, to grow, to be stable, and to achieve our dreams. Follow these steps to understand juvenile record sealing and take action on your own!

Step 1

Watch this video or read this publication to learn more about sealing laws in Washington State.

Step 2

Figure out if you are eligible. Sealing Juvenile Court Records in Washington State (2018)

Step 3

If you think you are eligible to have your records sealed, complete an easy to use online interview on the Washington LawHelp website.

Don’t feel comfortable doing this on your own? Find a clinic!

King County

The King County Department of Public Defense is now providing record sealing assistance.  Former juvenile offenders with records in King County should call 206-477-9727 (8AM – 5PM) and request an attorney to seal their juvenile records.

Pierce County

TeamChild partners with Tacoma ProBono to host a monthly record sealing clinic. Due to COVID-19, the clinic is currently done remotely. Sign up for the clinic with Tacoma ProBono HERE or call TeamChild at (253) 274-9929.

Spokane County

Gonzaga University School of Law Juvenile Record Sealing Project accepts online applications for their Criminal Records Clinic. Apply HERE or contact [email protected]com

Start Your Own Clinic

If you are interested in starting a record sealing clinic in your county, the following Starter Kit will walk you through some key things to consider and plan for.

Record Sealing Clinic Starter Kit (2012)

 

You can also watch a 2-hour training video for attorneys and volunteers on juvenile record sealing and how to set up a clinic.

Most of the information provided on this page is specific to Washington State law. We are providing this information as a public service – it is not legal advice.  We try to make it accurate as of the date noted in the materials.  Sometimes the laws change.  We cannot promise that this information is always up-to-date and correct. By providing this information, we are not acting as your lawyer.  If you need legal advice, you should contact a lawyer through your local legal aid organization or sealing clinics.  Always talk to a competent lawyer, if you can, before taking legal action.

CALL US TeamChild staff are working remotely and can be reached by e-mail and phone. Track our advocacy efforts HERE.