Vacating A Misdemeanor Conviction (Clean Up That Record!)

Expungement, expunge, Vacate

Clean Up Your History!

Who doesn’t love a good vacation? Nobody! Everybody loves vacation. This is especially true if you were ever convicted of a crime!

In Washington State, The process of removing a misdemeanor conviction from your criminal history is called vacation. Vacating a conviction has requirements, and it can be done only once in a lifetime on your most recent charge.

Here’s how it works:

  1. The court vacates the judgment and sentence and then dismisses the charge(s) against you.
  2. This gets rid of your conviction.
  3. Once your conviction is vacated, you can honestly say that you were never convicted of the crime.
  4. The conviction is removed from the defendant’s criminal history.
  5. The vacate order is sent to the WSP and FBI, which then update their databases.
  6. Record of the conviction may not be disclosed to any person except other criminal justice enforcement agencies.

While certain rules apply to determine whether a person qualifies to have a conviction vacated, it is important to remember that any decision to vacate a conviction is up to the judge. Generally, if you’ve done what you’re supposed to, the judge will vacate your crimes.

Washington State has several laws dealing with the ability to vacate an adult criminal conviction. Each applies to a specific type of case. Each has its own unique set of factors you must meet to vacate a conviction. In most instances the judge has the discretion to grant or deny a request to vacate a conviction.

RCW 9.94A.640 – Felony Convictions

Washington law allows a person to vacate most class B and C felonies. Class A felonies, violent crimes, and crimes against persons may not be vacated. For class B felonies, you must wait ten (10) years to vacate after receiving a Certificate of Discharge. For class C felonies, you must wait five (5) years. During this time you must not have any criminal convictions of any kind. It is possible to vacate more than one felony conviction.

RCW 9.96.060 – Misdemeanor and Gross Misdemeanor Convictions

Generally, a person must wait 3 years after completing all conditions of sentence to become eligible to vacate a non-DV conviction. For domestic violence offenses, you must wait 5 years after paying off your legal financial obligations, completing probation, treatment, etc. In 2012, the Legislature changed this law to require persons with a DUI reduced conviction (Negligent Driving, Reckless Driving, or Reckless Endangerment) to wait ten years. Certain crimes, like DUI’s and sex crimes, cannot be vacated. You must wait five (5) to vacate domestic violence crimes. You must meet several more requirements to be eligible to vacate a conviction. Unlike the felony law, you may only vacate a single misdemeanor conviction from your record.

If you have any questions about cleaning up your criminal history, you can trust the attorneys at Durflinger Oliver to meet with you for free and explain all your options. We offer a military discount and easy payment plans.

~ Martha McLaughlin, Sr. Associate