There are two separate statutes with different requirements for vacatingconvictions in Washington. One is for misdemeanors, and one is for felonies. We urge you to consider contacting us if you are interested in having your conviction vacated, sealed or expunged, because past experience has taught us that many people do not know exactly what they are eligible for or even what they were actually convicted of. This is because many people remember what they were charged with even though they pled guilty to a reduced charge. Additionally, incomplete and inaccurate records often only list charges instead of convictions.
Vacating a conviction means that your conviction is reversed. If you are eligible, you will be found not guilty, and this finding will be retroactive. In the eyes of the law, you will never have been convicted. Washington statutes specifically allow someone who has had his or her conviction vacated to tell employers, housing authorities, schools, and others that they were never convicted of a crime. Additionally, the Washington State Patrol will not release any information about a vacated record to anyone other than the local police departments and the Department of Social and Health Services.
In general, you must wait three years from the date you paid your fines and your probation was finished. For domestic violence labeled offenses, you must wait five years and meet many additional requirements. Additionally, you must not have been convicted of any crimes after the offense which you wish to vacate. Almost all misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors are eligible to be vacated. The statute that governs misdemeanor vacations is RCW 9.96.060. Also, please remember that you will probably want to attempt to seal your records in addition to having your conviction vacated.
ELIGIBILITY: ADULT FELONIES
To vacate a class C felony, you must wait 5 years from the date you paid your fines and your probation was finished. The waiting period for class B felonies is 10 years. Additionally, you cannot have been convicted of any crimes after the offense which you wish to vacate, except for possibly one subsequent misdemeanor. Common offenses which we can vacate are felony theft, possession of stole property, possession and delivery of drugs, bad checks, fraud, and burglary. In general, we cannot vacate convictions for: Aggravated murder, first or second degree murder, first or second degree kidnapping, first, second, or third degree assault, 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 or second degree robbery, first degree arson, first degree burglary, first or second degree manslaughter, first or second degree extortion, indecent liberties, incest, vehicular homicide, first degree promoting prostitution, communication with a minor for immoral purposes, unlawful imprisonment, sexual exploitation of minors, first or second degree criminal mistreatment, endangerment with a controlled substance, child abuse or neglect, 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 or distributing erotic material to a minor, violation of child abuse restraining order, child buying or selling, felony indecent exposure, and criminal abandonment. The statute that governs felony vacations is RCW 9.94A.640.
Please remember that we sometimes can vacate convictions that do not appear to be eligible because of unusual circumstances or the extreme age of the conviction. Crimes committed before 1985 fall under different guidelines than those listed above. For this reason, we urge you to contact us to determine if you are eligible. Also, please remember that you will probably want to attempt to seal your records in addition to having your conviction vacated.