Washington state record expungement
In the state of Washington, the process of getting your record expunged depends on whether you have a felony or a misdemeanor conviction. There are different steps that are involved for each process to clear your criminal record.
To meet the first eligibility requirement to expunge your conviction in the state of Washington is to make sure the allotted time for your crime has passed. For a misdemeanor, the period of time starts once a case is closed. For a felony conviction, the time starts to run on the date a Certificate of Discharge is filed with the court. In either cases, the case is closed or a Certificate of Discharge is filed after all the conditions of a sentence are met by the defendent.
You must make sure that your conviction can be expunged. Certain types of convictions, and classifications of convictions, are not eligible to be expunged in Washington. Commonly, Class A felonies, sex crimes, and violent crimes will not be expunged in Washington. When it comes to misdemeanors, Washington will not expunge DUI convictions. Also make sure you have not been convicted of another misdemeanor or felony after the date of the crime you are trying to get expunged.
Washington has a peculiar rule that applies only to misdemeanor convictions. If you want to expunge your misdemeanor, you cannot have had any other conviction expunged. In other words, if a person has a felony conviction and a misdemeanor conviction, and the person has already expunged the felony conviction, then the misdemeanor has no chance of being expunged. On the other hand, if the misdemeanor was expunged first, and if the misdemeanor conviction happened to take place before the felony conviction, then the felony could still be expunged.
An expungement in Washington requires a judge to sign a court order. Filing a motion to vacate conviction with the court can start the whole process in removing a conviction from your record. Before filing the motion, it would be a good idea to get copies of the docket, judgment, and sentence from the court clerk. It will be also wise to get a criminal history report. Just go to the Washington State Patrol website and request a WATCH report.
In Washington, most courts need a hearing to expunge a criminal conviction. You don't have to go if you have a lawyer appearing at the hearing on your behalf. At the hearing the judge should then sign an order to enpunge your conviction. The court clerk is going to then process the order and will send a certified copy to the Washington State Patrol, which erases the conviction from the public database.
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