How to Vacate a Criminal Record in Washington
If you are a resident of Washington State and you have a criminal record, you should make every effort to have your record vacated. If you don’t, you may experience far-reaching consequences.
The sad truth is that criminal records—even for minor offenses—tend to keep people sealed off from a host of jobs, government programs and volunteer opportunities. Whether you want to get a spot in public housing, work in the security industry, get a loan or access to food stamps, you may find difficulty due to having a criminal record.
This is why vacating your conviction is so important. Hiring a lawyer to do so could be one of your smartest investments.
What is Vacation, Anyway?
Vacation is the process of sealing a person’s records, for both arrest and conviction. Each state has its own laws about vacation. For most states, including Washington, vacation means that the person with the criminal record won’t need to tell prospective employers, landlords, etc., about their previous legal mishaps.
Bear in mind that not all offenses can be vacated in Washington State. These include certain misdemeanors, felonies, and DUIs.
Oddly enough, misdemeanors cannot be vacated if you’ve already had a conviction removed. Meaning, if you had a felony vacated, any following misdemeanors will have to stay on your record. However if that’s flipped, and you have a misdemeanor preceding a felony, then the felony can still be vacated.
How to Prepare for Vacation in Washington State
To have a conviction vacated, you’ll need a judge to sign the court order. You’d start this process by filing a motion to vacate the conviction. For this, we recommend getting your paperwork ready, like a copy of the docket, judgment and sentence from the court clerk. You can also bring your criminal history report, which can be obtained on Washington State Patrol’s WATCH website.
Find the Right Attorney Today
The right attorney will know how to present effective arguments to the judge. It’s best to choose a lawyer who has lots of experience and success in getting other people’s criminal records and arrest records vacated. The best part is that, by hiring a lawyer to represent you, then you don’t have to be present at the hearing.
However, beyond these cases, it’s up to the judge whether or not to vacate someone’s criminal and arrest record. This is why, when the case goes to court, you will need a good lawyer to help you fight for you.
Are you looking to vacate a criminal conviction? Contact Philbrook Law Office to start the process.