Expungement Blog

Legislature Looks to Modify Rules for Vacating Misdemeanor Convictions

Posted by Ryan Robertson on Feb 09, 2022 | 0 Comments

The State Legislature is in session and a proposed bill may make substantial changes to how a person may qualify to vacate a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor conviction record.

House Bill 1681 proposes to make the following changes:

  • Under current law, a person seeking to vacate a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor conviction must wait at least three years (five years for domestic violence crimes) from the date the person completes all conditions of sentence. Misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor convictions carry a specific period of time that must pass before the sentence is deemed “completed;” typically one to two years (up to five for domestic violence crimes) from the date of sentencing. For example, a person sentenced to a two year suspended sentence must: (a) Wait two years for the suspended sentence to end; and (b) Then wait three years to file a petition to vacate.
  • Under the proposed new law, a person can file a petition to vacate three years (five years for domestic violence crimes) from the later of: (a) Date of sentencing, or (b) Date of release from confinement. A person must still show that all other conditions of sentence have been completed. For example, a person sentenced to a two year suspended sentence, but with no jail time, can become eligible to file a petition to vacate three years (five years if a domestic violence crime) following the date of sentencing.

This bill is currently being debated in the House Committee on Public Safety. If the bill passes the committee, it could be sent to the full House, and Senate, for votes.

How does this proposed bill impact vacating misdemeanor convictions?  This bill significantly shortens the time a person must wait to vacate a misdemeanor conviction. This is significant particularly for persons who have struggled to pay legal financial obligations. The failure to pay LFO's often results in delaying eligibility to vacate these offenses. While a person must still pay LFO's, it no longer significantly delays eligibility to vacate. Overall, this bill will allow most individuals to vacate misdemeanor conviction records faster.

This proposed bill, if it becomes law, would go into effect later this year. If you have questions about your eligibility to vacate a criminal conviction record, please contact Robertson Law. We can review your situation and determine what steps need to be taken. We are ready and happy to help.

About the Author

Ryan Robertson

Ryan is a creative and articulate advocate who limits his practice to criminal appeals and post-conviction relief including vacation, expungement, and sealing of records. He has worked exclusively in the criminal defense field since passing the Washington State bar exam in 1998. Ryan has been recognized as a Rising Star lawyer by Law & Politics Magazine.

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Ryan Robertson's practice focuses exclusively on high-quality creative appellate representation in criminal and administrative matters, as well as expungements, vacation of records, and petitions to seal.