EXPUNGEMENT– to expunge means to physically destroy information, including criminal records in files, computers or other depositories. A motion or order to expunge shall be treated as a motion or order to destroy.
SEALING– to seal means to protect from examination by the public & unauthorized court personnel. An entire record may be sealed or parts of a record may be sealed. Evidence of the existence of a sealed file, unless protected by statute, is available for viewing by the public on court indices, but is limited to case number, names of the parties, the notation ‘case sealed,’ the case type (civil) and the cause of action or charge (criminal). A sealed court record may be ordered unsealed under certain circumstances.
To vacate your record means to set aside the conviction. Once a criminal conviction has been vacated, it is removed from the offender’s criminal history record. From that point forward, the client is found retroactively not guilty and can answer “no” on housing and background checks asking if he/she has been convicted.
Eligibility to vacate an adult misdemeanor requires:
– At least 3 years have elapsed since completion of sentence (5 years if DV);
– No pending criminal charges or new convictions (state and federal);
– Not a violent offense under 9.94A.030 or an attempt at such an offense;
– Not a DUI or Physical Control under 46.61.502, 46.61.504, or 9.91.020;
– Not a sex offense under 9.68, 9.68A, or 9A.44;
– Client has satisfied all conditions of sentence;
– No prior misdemeanors vacated;
– Client has not been the subject of a protection, no-contact or restraining order within 5 years; and
– Client does not fall under a DV exception.
— DV exceptions: DV offenses under 10.99.020 cannot be vacated if one of the following additional factors is met:
– Applicant has not provided written notification of the vacation petition to the prosecutor’s office that prosecuted the
offense for which vacation is sought, or has not provided that notification to the court,
– Applicant has previously had a DV conviction,
– Applicant has signed an affidavit under penalty of perjury affirming that the applicant has not previously had a
conviction for a DV offense, but criminal history reveals otherwise, or
– Less than 5 years has elapsed since the person completed the terms of the original conditions of sentence, including
any financial obligations and successful completion of any treatment ordered as a condition of sentencing.
Eligibility to vacate an adult felony requires:
– The offense was committed on/after July 1, 1984;
– No charges are pending in any state or federal court;
– No convictions after date of discharge;
– Class B Felony – at least 10 years past discharge,
– Class C Felony – at least 5 years past discharge;
– Not on the list of excluded felony offenses;
– The offender must complete all requirements of sentence, including financial
– There must be a ‘Certificate of Discharge’ before the 5-10 years can pass;
– A felony cannot be vacated if:
– It was a violent offense defined by 9.94A.030;
– It was a crime against persons defined by 43.43.830;
– The offender was convicted of a new charge in any state or federal court after discharge on the WA felony;
– The charge was a Class C felony DUI or Physical Control and less than 10 years have passed post-discharge.