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VACATING CONVICTION RECORDS IN WASHINGTON
Don't Let Past Mistakes Ruin Your Future
Having a criminal conviction on your record makes life much more difficult. Felony convictions usually have far more serious consequences, but even misdemeanor convictions can limit your job opportunities, deny you places to live, and, in some cases, even take away your firearm rights.
Criminal convictions will almost always stay on your record forever unless you vacate them or receive a pardon. Many opportunities in life require passing a background check, and you often don’t have advanced notice before they’re required. The legal process to vacate can be time consuming, so it’s important to start the process long before you may need a background check. Vacated convictions will not appear in a background check and allow you to legally state that you weren’t convicted of the vacated offense.
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.
Can You Vacate Your Record?
The first step in vacating your conviction is to determine if you qualify. Washington has a fair amount of rules to qualify, but SHB 1041 has recently allowed more offenses to be vacated and shortened the time you have to wait to become eligible. We’ve prepared this information to help you figure out whether you’re eligible and help you understand your options.
General Requirements To Vacate a Conviction
Recent changes to Washington law now make all misdemeanor convictions for possession of marijuana eligible to vacate immediately. To vacate other misdemeanor or felony convictions, Washington law requires you satisfy the following general requirements:
- You cannot set aside the prohibited offenses listed below
- You must satisfy any required waiting periods for the offenses discussed below
- You must obtain a Certificate of Discharge to vacate a felony conviction
- You cannot have any pending criminal charges or criminal proceedings and
- You must have satisfied all of the conditions of the sentence for the conviction you want to vacate.
1. Which Crimes are Ineligible to Vacate?
Washington law does not permit all offenses to be vacated. The following offenses are prohibited from being vacated:
A. The following offenses do not qualify to be vacated regardless of the level of offense under current Washington law:
- You cannot vacate Driving While Under the Influence (RCW 46.61.502) or Actual Physical Control While Under the Influence (RCW 46.61.5055) and
- You cannot vacate any of the Violent Offenses (RCW 9.94A.030) listed below.
B. The following list of ineligible offenses applies only when you’re trying to vacate a misdemeanor conviction under RCW 9.96.060:
- You cannot vacate a misdemeanor conviction for Obscenity or Pornography under Chapter 9.68 of the RCW 9.68
- You cannot vacate convictions for Sexual Exploitation of Children under Chapter 9.68A of the RCW 9.68A
- You cannot have more than one misdemeanor conviction for Domestic Violence (RCW 10.99.020)
- Convictions for Sex Offenses under Chapter 9A.44cannot be vacated, except for failure to register as a sex offender under RCW 9A.44.132 and
- You cannot currently have a restraining order, protective order, no-contact order, anti-harassment order or civil restraining order, and you cannot have a violation of one of these types of orders within the prior five (5) years.
C.The following list of ineligible offenses applies only when you’re trying to vacate a felony conviction under RCW 9.94A.640:
- Class A Felonies may not be vacated
- You may not vacate convictions for any of the Crime Against a Person (RCW 43.43.830) listed below.
i. Violent Offences
Violent Offenses described in RCW 9.94A.030 cannot be vacated regardless of whether they’re misdemeanor or felony convictions:
- Assault in the first or second degree
- Robbery in the second degree
- Assault of a child in the first or second degree
- Indecent liberties if committed by forcible compulsion
- Kidnapping in the first or second degree
- Arson in the second degree
- Extortion in the first degree
- Drive-by shooting
- Vehicular assault, when caused by the operation or driving of a vehicle by a person while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, or by the operation or driving of a vehicle in a reckless manner and
- Vehicular homicide, when proximately caused by the driving of any vehicle by any person while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug as defined by RCW 46.61.502
- Murder in the first or second degree
- Homicide by abuse
- Manslaughter in the first or second degree
- Rape in the first degree
- An attempt, criminal solicitation, or criminal conspiracy to commit one of these felonies.
ii. Ineligible Offenses
- Rape in the first, second or third degree (RCW 9A.44.040, 9A.44.050, or 9A.44.060)
- Rape of a child in the first, second, or third degree (RCW 9A.44.073, 9A.44.076, 9A.44.079)
- Child molestation in the first, second, or third degree (RCW 9A.44.083, 9A.44.086, 9A.44.089)
- Sexual Misconduct with a minor in the first or second degree (RCW 9A.44.093, 9A.44.096)
- Indecent liberties (RCW 9A.44.100)
- Sexually violating human remains (RCW 9A.44.105)
- Voyeurism (RCW 9A.44.115)
- Custodial sexual misconduct in the first or second degree (RCW 9A.44.160, 9A.44.170)
- Criminal trespass against children (RCW 9A.44.196)
- Incest (RCW 9A.64.020)
- Sexual exploitation of a minor (RCW 9.68A.040)
- Dealing in depictions of minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct (RCW 9.68A.050)
- Sending, bringing into state depictions of minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct (RCW 9.68A.060)
- Possession of depictions of minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct (RCW 9.68A.070)
- Viewing depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct (RCW 9.68A.075)
- Communication with minor for immoral purposes (RCW 9.68A.090)
- Commercial sexual abuse of a minor (RCW 9.68A.100)
- Promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor (RCW 9.68A.101)
- Promoting travel for commercial sexual abuse of a minor (RCW 9.68A.102)
- Permitting commercial sexual abuse of a minor (RCW 9.68A.103)
- Allowing minor on premises of live erotic performance (RCW 9.68A.150)
- Any conviction for a felony offense in effect at any time prior to July 1, 1976, that is comparable to a felony listed above
- Any federal or out-of-state conviction for an offense that under the laws of this state would be a felony listed above.
iii. Crimes Against Another Person
These Crimes Against Persons can be vacated unless they involved a firearm, deadly weapon, or sexual motivation enhancement:
- Assault in 2nd Degree (RCW 9A.36.021)
- Assault in the 3rd Degree (RCW 9A.36.031) unless against a peace officer and
- Robbery in the 2nd Degree (RCW 9A.56.210).
Felony convictions for the remaining Crimes Against a Person cannot be vacated under current law:
- Extortion in the first or second degree.
- Drive-by shooting.
- Vehicular homicide.
- Aggravated, first-, or second-degree murder.
- First or second-degree kidnapping.
- Vehicular assault, when you were driving while under the influence OR operating a vehicle in a reckless manner.
- First-degree assault.
- Second-degree assault including a firearm, deadly weapon, or sexual motivation enhancement.
- Third-degree assault including a firearm, deadly weapon, or sexual motivation enhancement.
- Third-degree assault against a law enforcement officer or peace officer.
- Fourth-degree assault if domestic
- First-, second-, or third-degree assault of a child.
- First-, second-, or third-degree rape.
- First-, second-, or third-degree rape of a child.
- First-degree robbery.
- Second-degree robbery including a firearm, deadly weapon, or sexual motivation enhancement.
- First- or second-degree arson.
- First-degree burglary.
- First or second-degree manslaughter.
- Indecent liberties.
- First-degree promoting prostitution.
- Communication with a minor.
- Unlawful imprisonment.
- Sexual exploitation of minors.
- First- or second-degree criminal mistreatment.
- Endangerment with a controlled substance.
- Child abuse or neglect (see RCW 26.44.020).
- First- or second-degree custodial interference.
- First- or second-degree custodial sexual misconduct.
- Malicious harassment.
- First-, second-, or third-degree child molestation.
- First- or second-degree sexual misconduct with a minor.
- Patronizing a juvenile prostitute.
- Child abandonment.
- Promoting pornography.
- Selling/distributing erotic material to a minor.
- Custodial assault.
- Violation of child abuse restraining order.
- Child buying or selling.
- Felony indecent exposure.
- Criminal abandonment.
- Possibly any conviction for a felony offense in effect at any time before July 1, 1976 that is comparable to one of the above felonies.
2. How Long Do You Need To Wait?
To vacate a misdemeanor or felony conviction, Washington law requires you to complete all the terms of your sentence, and then wait a certain amount of time depending on the offense. Additionally, you may not have been convicted of any new offenses during this waiting period.
- For Class B Felony convictionswait ten (10) years since finishing the terms of your sentence and have no new convictions during that period.
- For Class C Felony convictions, you must wait five (5) years since finishing the terms of your sentence and have no new convictions during that period.
- For misdemeanor convictions, you must wait three (3) years since finishing the terms of your sentence and have no new convictions during that period. If your misdemeanor conviction was for Domestic Violence (RCW 10.99.020), the waiting period is the same as it is for Class C Felonies.
Legal Effect Of Vacating Your Record
How Will Vacating My Conviction Help Me Get a Job?
Vacating a conviction is the best way to pass a background check and help you obtain a job. If your motion to vacate a conviction is granted, your conviction will be set aside, and the court will order state and federal criminal justice agencies to remove the conviction from your criminal history. A vacated conviction will not show up in a background check, and you can legally state that you were never convicted of the offense. Your vacated conviction cannot be released or made available to a third party except in limited cases to certain criminal justice agencies.
Will Vacating My Conviction Restore My Second Amendment Rights?
No. Vacating a conviction does not restore your firearm rights (RCW 9.96.060(6)(a)). However, you may be eligible to restore your firearm rights using a separate process under RCW 9.41.040. To learn more about restoring your firearm rights, please visit our Washington Firearm Rights Restoration page, where we go into more detail about restoring Second Amendment rights.
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 Setting Aside Your Arrest Record in Washington Include:
- Removing a finding of guilt and closing the case on your criminal record to help you get a better job
- Restoring your Second Amendment Rights to own a firearm
- Becoming eligible for professional licenses you previously did not qualify for
- 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
We Are Here to Help
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.
You can trust that you will get exceptional service from our law firm, as we have an A Rating from the Better Business Bureau, and prestigious attorney rating services such as Thompson Reuters and Avvo list our attorneys as Super Lawyers and Superb Attorneys. Our law firm has attorneys licensed to practice law in all Washington state courts, provides low price guarantees, and is here to fight for you and put your criminal record behind you!