In Washington, you can get qualifying criminal records expunged, or vacated, under certain circumstances.
If you have faced a criminal investigation, charge or conviction, here is an overview of what you need to know about the expungement process.
What are the qualifications?
There are two categories with different qualifications. An administrative expungement deletes your record entirely. You qualify for this if you received a verdict of not guilty, received a favorable disposition or your charges got dismissed. There are varying time frames for when you can apply that depend upon which outcome your case had. On average, expect to wait two or three years before being able to request the deletion of this record.
The second type is a court expungement, also referred to as a vacation. You may be able to have your record vacated if you were previously found guilty of certain misdemeanors and meet a series of other qualifying factors. These include the following:
- You have no new charges or convictions
- You have completed the terms of your sentence
- You have no restraining orders filed against you
- At least three years have passed since sentence completion
How will it impact you?
A criminal record can prevent you from obtaining certain jobs, getting accepted into colleges or securing a place to live. Gaining your footing following an arrest or conviction can be difficult, but by having your record deleted or vacated, you can begin to leave the misunderstandings or mistakes of your past behind you.
Knowing you may qualify for a fresh start can provide the hope you need to move forward.