When you are convicted for a criminal offense, in addition to the criminal penalties and sentence imposed, you may face challenges due to your destroyed reputation. Even after completing the terms of your sentence, it can be difficult to obtain a job or apartment or even qualify for a loan.
It is very common for employers, landlords or lenders to turn you away after reviewing the results of your criminal background check. In many misdemeanor and felony cases, as well as juvenile cases, it is possible to vacate a criminal conviction and seal your criminal record from public view.
Vacating a criminal conviction can make all the difference on an employment application. If you are eligible to have a conviction vacated in Washington State, you may also be eligible to petition for the restoration of your gun rights. I have substantial experience helping people navigate the process of getting their records vacated and to restore their gun rights.
Washington courts do not expunge criminal records, but they do vacate convictions. Vacating a criminal record and having it sealed can be beneficial if you have incorrect information on your criminal record, or if non-conviction information — arrest record, charges, dismissed charges, etc. — is harming your employment opportunities or other opportunities.
Non-conviction information is not automatically removed from your record when a case is dismissed. You must first petition to have the information vacated, or deleted, from your criminal history record. I have the experience and diligence to effectively guide you through the legal process. I assess your eligibility and move quickly to get your record vacated and/or sealed.
While convictions cannot be sealed, in some situations, you may be eligible to vacate a misdemeanor or felony criminal conviction following a specific waiting period after completing your sentence. For example, you may be capable of vacating a conviction for a gross misdemeanor, misdemeanor, or Class B or Class C felony following the appropriate waiting period. Convictions for sex offenses and certain other violent offenses cannot be vacated.
Don’t let a juvenile arrest record or conviction follow your child and affect his or her future opportunities. With the exception of misdemeanor or felony sex offense convictions, most other juvenile criminal records may be eligible to be vacated and sealed. In some situations, it may even be possible to get the records destroyed. With over 20 years as a criminal defense lawyer, I understand how the laws change — to the advantage or disadvantage of those with criminal records. I understand the importance of moving quickly to get records vacated and the need to stay abreast of the evolving laws in Washington.
If you or a loved one needs assistance vacating a criminal record, talk with an experienced lawyer about your options.