If you have been convicted of a crime in Washington State, you might be wondering if it is possible to remove this charge from your record. A criminal conviction can make it difficult to secure housing. Potential employers might turn you away. Federal funding for scholarships or state assistance might be denied because of a criminal background. A criminal conviction can make life difficult. The good news is that your record does not have to follow you forever. If you have been convicted of a crime in Washington state, you may be eligible to have this charge expunged from your record.
Legally known as “vacating” a criminal conviction, most people simply refer to it as “expunging” a record. Once you have vacated or expunged your charge, you can legally state to potential employers or housing agents that you were never convicted of that charge in the first place. However, not every crime is expungable. Washington state only allows you to vacate certain types of criminal convictions. This article will explain what types of charges can be expunged. If you would like more information, contact a knowledgeable criminal record expungement attorney today.
What Types of Criminal Charges Can I Expunge From My Record?
Washington State allows you to expunge or vacate most types of criminal charges. Keep in mind that Washington state has different requirements depending on what type of charge you are seeking to vacate.
Misdemeanor Charge Expungement
You can expunge most Washington misdemeanor convictions. This includes domestic violence charges, assault charges, malicious mischief charges, harassment charges, and trespass, to name a few.
Washington does not allow you to expunge DUI or Physical Control charges. Additionally, you cannot vacate an offense involving obscenity, pornography, sexual exploitation of children, or any sex offense, except for misdemeanor failure to register as a sex offender.
How many misdemeanor charges can I expunge?
Washington allows you to expunge multiple misdemeanor charges. The exception to this general rule is for domestic violence convictions. In Washington, you cannot expunge a domestic violence conviction if you have been previously convicted of a separate domestic violence offense.
How Long Must I Wait?
Generally speaking, in order to vacate a misdemeanor conviction, there is a three-year wait from the time that you finished all conditions of your sentence. For domestic violence convictions, Washington state has a five-year wait. If you were convicted of Negligent Driving in the 1st Degree or Reckless Driving, and the case was originally charged as a DUI, then you must wait at least 10 years. Washington does have strict eligibility requirements to expunge a misdemeanor, and you can learn more about those requirements here.
What Must I Do?
Before expunging a misdemeanor from your record, you must have successfully completed all the terms of your sentence. You must also have been convicted of no new crimes in the previous three years (five years for domestic violence convictions). You cannot have any open or pending criminal cases in any state. Lastly, you cannot be subject to any No Contact Orders, restraining orders, protection orders or anti-harassment orders.
Every case is different, and the above information is intended to provide you with general guidelines. If you would like more information about whether expunging your record is a good option for you, please give us a call or email us today for a free consultation.
Felony Charge Expungement
Much like misdemeanors, Washington has specific rules for expunging a felony conviction. Generally speaking, Washington allows you to expunge one felony conviction from your record in your lifetime. The exception to this rule involves convictions for simple Possession of a Controlled Substance. Under State v. Blake, you can expunge all previous convictions for simple Possession of a Controlled Substance.
Not all felonies are expungable. Generally speaking, Washington allows you to expunge most Class C felonies and some Class B felonies. You cannot petition a court to expunge Class A felonies. Nor can you vacate a violent offense under RCW 9.94A.030 or a crime against persons, except that Assault II, Robbery II, and Assault III, when not committed against a police officer, may be vacated if the conviction did not involve a firearm, deadly weapon, or involve a sexual motivation enhancement.
How Long Must I Wait Before Expunging A Felony?
For Class C Felonies, you must wait at least five years since the later of your release from confinement, release from community custody, or your sentencing date. For Class B felonies, this is a 10-year wait.
What Must I Do?
There must be no criminal charges open or pending against you. For Class C felonies, you must have no previous convictions within the last 5 years of your petition to vacate. For Class B felonies, you must be crime free for the previous 10 years to your petition to vacate.
Certificate of Discharge
In order to expunge or vacate a felony charge, you must have a document called a Certificate of Discharge. A Certificate of Discharge states that you have successfully completed all the terms of your sentence, including legal financial obligations.
Your Local Expungement Attorney In Vancouver, WA
At Carley Legal Services, we understand that every case is different. If you would like more information about expunging a felony from your record, contact our office. Let us take away the stress and hassle of the courts. We can very likely expunge your record without you ever having to come to court.