If your life is being held back because of a past criminal charge or conviction, it may be possible to have the record of that crime removed from your official record. Depending on the circumstances, it is possible in Washington to expunge a criminal record, to vacate a criminal conviction, or to seal a record.
If you were previously arrested or convicted of a crime, an expungement lawyer can help you remove those charges or seal your record from public view. This can be beneficial for both your professional and personal life, and a lawyer with experience in expungement cases can help you navigate the criteria and process.
Why You Should Work to Clean Your Record:
A criminal record can be a big hindrance to a career. Employers will almost always run a criminal background check on prospective employees. For many careers, the ability to attain professional licensing may also be jeopardized by a criminal record. For many people, undertaking the time and cost to clean their record is a necessary step to advancing their career. Moreover, even for those that do not have career concerns, it can be emotionally freeing to know that the record of their past mistake or alleged mistake is no longer a part of their record.
Types of Relief:
There are several ways that the Washington law allows people to clear past convictions or criminal charges from their records. These types of relief all require a judge to sign a court order.
Vacate crime: In many instances, misdemeanor convictions can be vacated upon written request. In some cases, even felony convictions can be vacated; however not until at least 5 years have passed. Vacating a conviction allows a person to legally and honestly state that they have never been convicted of it. However, a record of the conviction will still be held by the State of Washington.
Expunge criminal record: For “non-conviction data” – for instance a record of an arrest – expungement may be an option after two years have passed.
Seal record: It may also be possible for other information to be sealed from the public record. For instance, if there is some matter of public record that you find damaging to your reputation or privacy, it may be possible to have that information removed from public accessibility
If you have any questions about your criminal record please contact us today.