Some records of criminal conviction can be expunged (removed from the records of a citizen) by filing a Motion to Vacate Conviction. These motions must be filed in the jurisdiction in which the conviction was handed down.

Certain convictions are not eligible for expungement. Ineligible convictions include DUI, sex offenses, and those classified by Washington law as “violent offenses” for misdemeanor convictions, and those classified as “violent offenses” or “crimes against persons” for felony convictions. A finding of guilt in any other case might be eligible for expungement.

Maturity of Time to File

The law requires that specified amounts of time must have passed before a Motion to Vacate can be granted, during which the motioning party must not have had any criminal charges filed in any jurisdiction in the United States. For misdemeanor convictions, this time begins at the closing of a case, which requires that all penalties including jail time, monetary fines, community service, and probationary periods have been settled by the offender. For misdemeanor offenses not involving domestic violence charges, three years must have passed from closing of the case prior to filing for expungement. The three year period begins on the date the case is closed, and not the date of conviction. For convictions involving charges of domestic violence, five years is required prior to motioning.

For convictions involving Class C felony charges, the case must discharged for at least five years while ten years must run after discharge before filing to vacate Class B felony convictions. Discharge of a felony case involves filing of a Certificate of Discharge after all sentence conditions have been completed, including expiration of any associated no-contact orders.

Necessary Documentation

Under most circumstances, three document are necessary to commence a Motion to Vacate a misdemeanor conviction, with one additional document being required for felonies.  These include a complete court docket from the jurisdiction handing down the guilty verdict, a copy of the Judgment and Sentencing Order, a copy of one’s Watch Report from the Washington State Patrol Website, and for felonies, a copy of the Certificate of Discharge. Other documents might become necessary later in the proceedings. If you can’t acquire these documents, a lawyer can obtain them for you.

Criminal convictions remain on a person’s record indefinitely and are public information. The only way to remove them is to have legal representation file an appropriate motion. While criminal convictions remain on one’s record, they can hinder employment opportunities, business reputation, and establishment of personal relationships.

If you believe that you meet the above criteria and would benefit from the expungement of a criminal conviction, contact or call the The Nahajski Firm at 206-621-0500 for a free and confidential initial consultation. We are eager to assist you with your case.