A question that may come up frequently when dealing with the repercussions of having a criminal record would be whether or not the record could be expunged or vacated. The legal definition to expunge a record is to destroy legally or strike off the record any files relating to a particular criminal conviction. To vacate a record would similarly be when the court determines a person has met certain conditions, and the judge orders the conviction removed from a criminal history.

The ability to expunge or vacate a record in Washington relates to whether or not a conviction is classified as a misdemeanor or a felony. The type of crime that was committed, regardless of classification, will impact any legal capabilities in future changes to permanent records.


Meet the Conditions of Your Sentence

The first step in any process of getting a criminal record expunged is to complete the terms of the sentence for your conviction. This process applies to both classifications of misdemeanor and felony. Before anyone can take future steps and process requests, the Certificate of Discharge must be filed with the court and the case must be considered closed. What this means is that the person must serve all incarceration time required in the sentencing, as well as public community service hours and retribution.  


Types of Conviction with Restrictions

In Washington State, there are limits on the types of convictions that are eligible for expungement. Certain convictions that cannot have removal in records are the following:

  •    Class A felonies
  •    Sex crimes
  •    Violent crimes
  •    DUI convictions
  •    Any other convictions of crimes the person wishes to expunge, whether misdemeanor or felony, which occurred after the date of offense


Limits on Expunged Convictions

Something unusual in the state of Washington is the limit on the number of convictions that one can expunge. You do not have a limitless number of convictions that can be expunged.


Court Order

In order to have your record vacated or expunged, a hearing will most likely need to take place and a judge needs to sign a court order.


The Nahajski Firm is experienced helping those that can have their records expunged. Contact or call the Nahajski Firm at 206-621-0500 to learn about your options if you have been convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony.