The Washington Court of Appeals has issued a new ruling affecting how court files can be sealed (State v. KRW). Please review our sealing page for more information and a summary.
Washington law allows people to clear their criminal record in many circumstances, a process called expunging, vacating and/or sealing a conviction. This procedure often results in the "undoing" of a criminal conviction. If your conviction is expunged or vacated, you will be legally able to tell employers, landlords, and everyone else that you have never been convicted of a crime. Your criminal record will not be disclosed to anyone who runs a criminal background check with the Washington State Patrol, local police agencies, or the court system.
There is generally a waiting period before you can apply to expunge or vacate a record, and this waiting period varies from a few years to over 10 years (for the specifics, see RCW 9.96, 9.94A, 10.97, and 13.50). This process allows people who have made mistakes to clear their record, and to rehabilitate their lives and reputations. For adult convictions, Washington law generally only allows you to vacate or expunge your latest conviction. Please call or email us to determine if you're eligible, and also feel free to view our vacation information page. We strongly encourage you to run your official criminal record at the Washington State Patrol's web site for $10.00 before contacting us. This will allow us to give you more accurate advice.
We have also had great success in getting our clients' court records sealed. Many other attorneys do not take this extra step when trying to clear someone's record. We feel it is important to seal all court records because most internet background searches query the Washington State Court computers, known as DISCIS and SCOMIS. While this process is slightly more complicated than simply expunging or vacating a conviction, it is almost always worth the extra effort. We are very familiar with the laws on sealing records, and we are happy to provide you references of past clients whose records we have sealed.
Washington law allows people with past juvenile convictions to seal, vacate, and/or expunge their records. Through this process, you can undo multiple convictions, prevent employers from finding out about convictions, hide juvenile social service agency files, and possibly have certain records destroyed. If you were convicted of a juvenile crime that was not a sex offense, and you have been crime free for any two year period after your conviction, and you don't have any charges currently pending against you, you may be eligible to expunge your conviction. Feel free to fill out this form to get more information.
We can tell you if you are eligible for expungement and help you through the process. Once your case is expunged, we will follow through with local police agencies, the Washington State Patrol, the court system, and even the FBI if necessary to make sure your record has been cleared and sealed. We have handled many expungements and are very familiar with the requirements and the process.
We also have experience handling restoration of firearm rights and voting rights.
If you were convicted of a Class B or C felony in Washington, and it has been more than 5 years since you were convicted or released from jail, and you don't have any charges currently pending against you, you may be eligible to have your firearm rights restored.
If you were convicted of a misdemeanor in Washington that caused you to lose your right to possess a firearm, and it has been more than 3 years since you completed the terms of your sentence (including paying the fine), and you don't have any charges currently pending against you, you may be eligible to have your firearm rights restored.
We have successfully restored many of our clients' right to vote in Washington after felony convictions. If you are interested in restoring your right to vote, please call or email us.
I had my deferred prosecution revoked for a DUI in February 2005. I was turned back at the Canadian border in December 2005 on a random check that revealed my DUI conviction. I was referred to Steve Rosen by another attorney. Steve prepared a packet with all the documents required to apply for a temporary residency permit through Canadian Immigrations. He advised me on the proper procedures with Canadian Immigrations and in 6 months, I was issued the temporary residency permit to legally enter Canada. The Immigrations Agent remarked that he was impressed with the organized and complete packet of documents I had presented. The process could have taken as long as 18 months and there was no guarantee I would be granted permission to enter Canada. I truly believe Steve's advice and attention to detail made the difference.
(The specific details of these cases have been withheld to protect our clients' privacy. Redacted court orders are available upon request.)
The Washington State Supreme Court is considering revising General Rule 15. These revisions will make it easier to seal court records after vacating a conviction. Feel free to email me if you would like an update on the current status of the changes. (updated 12/05)
The Washington State Legislature considered many bills during the last session that may increase your ability to have records expunged, sealed, and vacated, and lessen the requirements for you to restore your firearm rights. Please contact your State Senators and Representatives to voice your support for HB 1819, HB 1829, HB 2087 and SB 5635 in future legislative sessions. We are led to believe that similar bills may be introduced in the future. Thanks. (updated 10/05)
Robertson Law, PLLC
701 5th Ave, Suite #4735
Seattle, WA 98104
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