Washington State Bar Association

Expungements (Vacating Crimes on Ones Criminal History)

In Washington State an individual can request the sentencing court to vacate a criminal conviction and seal the court file once the conviction has been vacated. It is beneficial to vacate a criminal conviction since a record of conviction can affect ones professional and personal life including opportunities for employment and housing. The terms “expungement” and “destruction” are not used in Washington State for adult convictions. Once an individual’s criminal conviction has been vacated, that person can then by law, state that he or she was not convicted of that offense after an order to vacate has been signed by the court. An order to vacate or seal does not necessarily allow one to restore their right to own or possess a firearm. In order to qualify for the vacating of a class B or C felony, the individual making the request must not have been convicted of a new crime in any state or court since the date of discharge, have no other criminal actions pending, the offense for the conviction was not a “violent offense” as defined by RCW 9.94A.030, was not a “crime against persons” as defined by RCW 43.43.830, if a class C felony more than 5 years have passed since discharge, or if a class B felony, more than 10 years have passed since discharge. Certain misdemeanor crimes can be vacated as well and should be if possible to avoid any obstacles with employment, housing or educational opportunities. The Law offices of Deborah Alexander, Attorney at Law, PLLC represents clients in the vacation and sealing of felony and misdemeanor convictions.

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