A criminal record in Seattle can impact your ability to get work, housing, public benefits, financial aid for education, to drive, or to enjoy other rights or privileges, such as voting. You can apply to have the record of your conviction vacated or sealed. You must meet certain conditions set by Washington law. Remember, the record of your conviction won’t be destroyed. In fact, this conviction could still be used against you if you are later charged with another crime. Here at FindLaw we’ve compiled some general information about expunging a Seattle arrest and/or conviction record.
The most important part of the expungement process is understanding what is available to you under Washington state law.
The term expungement refers to removing “non conviction data” from your record. What the heck does that mean? It means you can remove an arrest record or a criminal charge that was later dismissed. This process has nothing to do with criminal convictions.
If you want to remove a criminal conviction from your record, it’s known as “vacating” the criminal conviction. Only in very limited circumstances will you be able to actually clear your criminal record, as in, remove or destroy information. In those very limited instances that you will be able to delete information from your record, you will only be able to remove information that is explained below as “non-conviction data.”
You are eligible to have your non-conviction data deleted if you meet these criteria:
- Your case involves only “non-conviction” data, not a criminal conviction. This could be an arrest record, or a criminal charge that was dismissed;
- You haven’t been charged with, or arrested for, a new crime;
- You haven’t had a prior conviction for a felony or gross misdemeanor;
- Two years have passed since your case became “non-conviction data”. Or, three years have passed since your arrest date, and the case is not pending in court. The two-year time period applies most often to a situation where a court dismissed the criminal charge.
If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer.