HOW TO EXPUNGE A WASHINGTON CRIMINAL RECORD & RESTORE FIREARM RIGHTS
Don’t Let Past Mistakes Control Your Future
Having a criminal record makes life more difficult. A criminal record can limit you from getting a higher-paying job, renting a place to live, or obtaining professional licenses. A criminal record can take away your Second Amendment right to own a gun. There are countless things in life that a criminal record can make difficult, and you likely understand that if you’re living with one.
Washington provides the public with access to most criminal records and maintains these records in multiple locations. When arrested or convicted in Washington, it is almost certain that at least one criminal justice agency will keep your criminal record forever. Typically, the arresting agency, court clerk, and Washington State Patrol will have copies or access to your records, and, very often, your records are forwarded to the FBI Criminal Justice Information Service as well.
Fortunately, Washington allows residents to vacate both misdemeanor and felony convictions, restore firearm rights, and seal arrest records. There are many rules to satisfy in order to be eligible, but hundreds of thousands with Washington records qualify to vacate their conviction, restore their firearm rights, or both. Many people are either unaware of their record until failing a background check, or they don’t realize that the records can be dealt with.
Know Your Options
Washington law often allows many to vacate convictions or seal arrest records. Additionally, Washington also offers firearm restoration services for those that lost their Second Amendment rights.
To use these laws to your benefit, it is vital to know your options, and which one will help you the most. Our law firm offers the following legal services in all counties in the State of Washington:
Washington Arrest Record Sealarrow_drop_downLearn More Washington Arrest Record Seal
Sealing Washington Arrest Records
Washington law provides for the removal of non-conviction arrest information from the Washington State Patrol database. The process removes the arrest records from the WSP criminal record database, making them less accessible to potential employers, landlords, and the general public. Sealing records with the court is currently difficult, as Washington has strong open records laws and lacks a clear process to seal arrests with the courts.
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Washington Juvenile Record Sealing
Many newer juvenile records now qualify for automatic sealing, and the court will administratively seal these records without any action necessary. However, many offenses do not qualify for automatic sealing, and the court typically does not seal juvenile records from prior to 2014. Once sealed, juvenile records will not appear in a background check, and, in some cases, the records are eventually fully destroyed.
Washington Firearm Rights Restorationarrow_drop_downLearn More Washington Firearm Rights Restoration
Washington Firearm Rights Restoration
Washington law prohibits those convicted of felonies and certain domestic violence misdemeanors from owning and possessing firearms. Washington allows you to petition a court for restoration of your Second Amendment right if you meet certain requirements and demonstrate rehabilitation.
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Vacating Washington Convictions
Washington allows residents to vacate both misdemeanor and felony convictions. If the motion is granted, the vacated conviction shall be set aside and treated as if it did not occur, except in very limited circumstances. A vacated record will be hidden in background searches, and only criminal justice agencies may seek access to them. Vacating a conviction is the best solution for passing background checks, but they do not restore firearm rights.
This Information is for You
Since the majority of people reading this aren’t lawyers, we’ve tried to simplify the legal jargon on our website, so regular people may follow along and get the information needed to understand their rights. However, before we get started, we should be clear that some of this information can get complicated, and, in many cases, it’s best to seek the assistance of an experienced lawyer.
To help you understand your rights, our lawyers have developed a tool that can be helpful in figuring out your options. This tool can’t be perfectly accurate in every situation, but our lawyers have invested substantial time and resources working to make it as accurate as possible.
You can get started by using our Secure Eligibility Test, or you can give us a call at (844) 947-3732 to see if our legal staff is available for a free consultation. Be aware that our staff is often busy with current clients and a high volume of calls and appointments. If you’re serious about getting rid of your record, your best bet is to take our secure, confidential Eligibility Test and then schedule an appointment to discuss your results and options.
Legal Effects of Vacating and Sealing Washington Records
Washington law permits you to vacate both misdemeanor and felony convictions, seal arrest records with respect to the Washington State Patrol, restore firearm rights, and also seal juvenile records. The two biggest issues our law firm’s clients encounter relate to getting a job and restoring firearm rights, so we’re going to discuss each.
Which legal services will help me get a job?arrow_drop_down
Vacating an adult conviction and sealing juvenile convictions are the most effective ways to pass a background check and obtain a job. Both services will prevent the conviction from showing up in a background check and allow you to legally state that you have not been convicted of a crime.
Arrests are not as much of a barrier to employment as a conviction, but it’s certainly preferable when background checks do not contain prior arrests. An arrest that didn’t result in a conviction shouldn’t prevent you from getting a job, but they obviously can affect how an employer views you as a candidate. Unfortunately, Washington doesn’t have a great process for the sealing of arrest records. However, many background checks are performed by the Washington State Patrol, and you can often have those records destroyed. It should just be known that the record may still exist with the courts, and it is incredibly difficult to have the courts seal arrest records.
Which Services Restore My Second Amendment Right to Own and Possess a Firearm?arrow_drop_down
Vacating a conviction does not restore your firearm rights. The laws allowing you to vacate convictions are clear on this issue. An arrest that didn’t result in a conviction should not affect your firearm rights, so sealing an arrest record also will not restore your firearm rights.
The only official way to restore firearm rights that were taken due to an adult conviction is to petition the courts using RCW 9.41.040. This firearm rights restoration process is quite broad and applies to both juvenile and adult convictions. Juveniles may restore their firearm rights by either sealing their juvenile record, or by using the restoration process available to adults. Both services will completely restore your Second Amendment rights, unless there is another reason restricting your firearm rights.
We will go into more detail regarding restoring Second Amendment rights in Washington on our Washington Firearm Rights Restoration page, but restoration typically involves both state and federal law that should be handled by an experienced lawyer. The lawyers in our firm regularly handle complex firearm rights restoration issues, so a good first step in exploring whether you can restore your firearm rights would be to take our Secure Eligibility Test. Then, if appropriate, set up a time to speak with our legal staff about how to proceed.
What You Need to Do to Get Rid of Your Record
If you are tired of having a criminal record hold you back, reach out to us by taking our Secure Eligibility Test or by giving us a call at (844) 947-3732. Our law firm has helped thousands of people with criminal records move on in life, leaving many of the negative effects of a criminal record behind. Our experienced attorneys and legal staff are here to help you figure out what criminal record clearing services best fit your needs, and then help you accomplish your goals. Using our secure, confidential Eligibility Test is the best way to get the process started.
Some of the potential benefits of expunging your criminal record in Washington include:
- Removing a finding of guilt from your criminal record to help you get a better job
- Becoming eligible for professional licenses you previously did not qualify for
- Restoring your Second Amendment Right to bear arms
- No longer being treated as a felon
- Increased eligibility for student loans, housing assistance, and government programs
- Improving your ability to obtain higher-paying job opportunities
- Improving access and admission to college and other educational resources
Each of Washington’s methods for dealing with your criminal record have different requirements and are meant for different circumstances. To move forward, it’s important to determine what Washington criminal record services are available to you, and then select the services that will provide the greatest benefit. Eastman Meyler, PC is here to help you navigate this very specific area of Washington criminal law, fight to protect your rights, and assist you in moving forward in life without the effects of a Washington criminal record.