Expunging and Vacating Criminal Convictions
A criminal charge does not have to be on your record forever. Searching for a job is difficult enough without having to disclose a conviction from your past. It is possible to vacate or expunge your criminal records. When done correctly, an attorney can erase your conviction so you can tell future employers that you were never convicted of that crime.
If you meet certain criteria, Washington law allows you to clean up your criminal record by vacating or expunging your conviction. Vacating a conviction means that the court will withdraw your guilty plea or set aside your guilty verdict and dismiss the charge. This information will be sent to law enforcement agencies so they will update their records. After a conviction is vacated, you can legally tell employers that you were never convicted of the crime.
Vacating Criminal History Checklist
Whether you qualify to have your conviction vacated depends first on what charge you were convicted of.
For misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor convictions the general standard is that you must:
- Have no pending criminal charges against you or any subsequent convictions since the original offense.
- Have not had a prior criminal charge vacated in Washington.
- Have completed all conditions of your sentence, including paying off all fines and fees.
- Three years must have passed since the completion of your sentence. Five years for misdemeanor domestic violence convictions.
- If the charge is for domestic violence, you cannot have more than one domestic violence conviction on your record.
- You cannot vacate a DUI or Physical Control conviction or any charge that would count as a prior offense to one of those charges.
For Class B and Class C Felony convictions the general standard is:
- There are no pending criminal charges against you or any subsequent convictions since the date or your discharge from the offense.
- The crime was not a “violent offense” as defined by RCW 9.94A.030.
- The crime was not a “crime against persons” as defined by RCW 43.43.830.
- The crime was not a felony DUI or Physical Control.
- It has been at least 5 years since the date of discharge on a Class C felony; and 10 years from the date of discharge on a Class B felony.
Vacating a criminal record does not automatically restore your firearms rights, which requires a separate process.
Each person’s situation is different, contact us for a free consultation to see if you can clear up your criminal record.
Contact a Criminal Records Attorney
Don’t let your criminal history haunt you for the rest of your life. There is a way to finally put it all behind you and give yourself a fresh start. Call us today to set up a free consultation to clear up your criminal record. We offer affordable options for cleaning up your record.