Vacating a record in the state of Washington is also known as expunging your record. If you have questions about vacating your record, the chances are that we have already answered them here. If you would like to know more about our record vacating service click here to visit our service page. Are you trying to determine if your record is eligible to be vacated? We can help! We have created a free online eligibility test so you can easily see if you are eligible, without the expense of hiring an attorney just to check for you.
Simply click on a question to see its answer:
No, as long as you satisfy the eligibility requirements to vacate your conviction, it does not matter whether you plead guilty, no contest, or were found guilty.
We can help you do the research necessary to find out what is on your record. Then we can review all of the information and determine what services you are eligible for under Washington law. For this research service, we charge a small fee, which we would apply to the total cost of any service that you hire us to perform at the conclusion of the case research.
You are not eligible to vacate a misdemeanor conviction in Washington if you have any criminal convictions since you were convicted for the offense you want to vacate. Convictions that occurred prior to the misdemeanor conviction you are trying to vacate do not count.
On the other hand, if your conviction was for an offense where you were supervised and then discharged by the Department of Corrections under Washington section 9.94A.637 (which typically means a felony), then you cannot have another conviction since the date you were discharged (not the date you were convicted).
At this time, there does not appear to be a way to reduce a felony once the conviction has already been imposed. The time to do so would be before you received the conviction, via negotiations with the prosecutor.
The main reasons that a petition can be denied is if: (1) the court does not believe that vacating your conviction will be in the interest of society, (2) you violated probation or have not paid off your fines, (3) you are otherwise not eligible to vacate that particular conviction or (4) there was an inaccuracy in the court records and/or the application.
Yes. The Washington laws were intended to allow certain convictions to be vacated, as long as the other requirements are satisfied and you have been issued a Certificate of Discharge
You will not typically have to appear in court to vacate your Washington conviction. We will appear on your behalf at any hearings that may be scheduled. If the court does specifically request your presence and you are unable to attend, then we will file a motion to have your presence excused.
To vacate your Washington conviction, the process takes on average three to four months, depending on your individual circumstances, the court’s caseload at the time, and whether there are any objections to vacating your conviction. In many cases, a hearing will be held on your application/petition.
Courts handle these applications on a first-come, first-served basis. We will work to get your case filed with the court as quickly as possible. We can write a letter for your employer or potential employer so they are aware that you are in the process of having the conviction vacated, if such a letter would be helpful.
You will receive a court order vacating the conviction—which has the effect of withdrawing the guilty judgment and dismissing the charges against you. You can then legally state that you were not convicted of the offense.
If your petition to vacate your record is denied, we will determine the best way to proceed. This can include immediately refiling with additional information or advising you to wait longer before filing again to allow more time to has passed since the conviction. If we do not believe refiling the petition is in your best interest, we also offer a money-back guarantee for certain services.
Once a particular conviction has been vacated, that conviction may be not used against you to enhance your sentence for any future offenses.
No, if your conviction is vacated (expunged) in Washington you do not have to disclose the conviction. You may answer any inquiry or on an application for employment as though you have not been convicted of the crime.
No. Sex offenses that require registration are not eligible to be vacated.
In Washington, only convicted felons lose their voting rights. Even then, the voting rights of convicted felons are restored upon their completion of their sentence and release from supervision from the Department of Corrections.
Each person's case is different. To find out if your criminal conviction is affecting your immigration status or if vacating the convcition would assist your immigration case, please contact an immigration attorney. You can reach our immigration department at 714-617-8395.
No. In Washington, the most common reasons for losing the right to own or possess a firearm are (1) being convicted of a certain offense or (2) being convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence.
(1) If you were convicted of an offense prohibiting the use, possession, or ownership of a firearm, vacating will not restore your right to possess, use, or own a firearm. To determine eligibility for restoration of the right to own a firearm, please see section on restoring gun rights.
(2) Under federal law, there is also a lifetime ban (known as the Lautenberg Amendment), that applies to those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence. If the federal Lautenberg Amendment ban applies, vacating your conviction in Washington does not lift the federal prohibition.
In Washington, you may serve on a jury if you: 1) are at least eighteen years old, 2) are United States citizen, 3) are a resident of the county where you are summoned, 4) are able to communicate in English, 5) have not been convicted of a felony, or if you have had your rights restored to you.
You do not need to disclose your case if it has been vacated, and you can answer with confidence that you have not been convicted of the crime if asked in person or on an application.
If you have a “Breach of Trust” or "Dishonesty" conviction you can be barred from jobs at banks. This applies even to expunged or vacated convictions. If you were denied a position because of this, you can apply for a waiver from the FDIC. You should contact an attorney about your specific circumstances to see if you would qualify for an FDIC waiver.
Once your conviction has been vacated, Washington law states that the Washington State Patrol and local law enforcement agencies many not disseminate or disclose the conviction to any person other than criminal justice enforcement agencies. Therefore, a background check that is based off the state or law enforcement records would not display the case. However, if the background check company pulls information from court records then the case will be displayed as vacated/dismissed. The law also states that you are able to state on employment and housing applications that you were never convicted of the crime.
The court will direct the court clerk to immediately send the order to the Washington State Patrol Identification Section as well as any local police agency that has records pertaining to the case. The Washington State Patrol will also notify the Federal Bureau of Investigation that your conviction has been “vacated.”
The court updates its records and then sends the court order to the agencies. The law requires that the court clerk immediately notify the Washington State Patrol and any local law enforcement agency immediately once the order is entered, so that those agencies can comply accordingly.
Vacating the conviction will not affect your DMV records. DMV records will disappear from your driving record after a specified number of years, as opposed to your criminal records which remain indefinitely. In Washington, most traffic offenses are not considered part of your “criminal history.”
You must have completed all the requirements of your sentence, including paying all fines and court costs to be eligible for a Certificate of Discharge.
When you are released from the authority of the Department of Corrections then the right to vote can be provisionally restored. Any civil rights that were lost (voting, serving on a jury, running for office, etc.) can be restored with a Certificate if they were not automatically restored when you were released from the Department of Corrections. However, a Certificate of Discharge does not restore your firearm rights.