How a Dirty Record Gets Clean
by Lewis & Laws
How a Dirty Record Gets Clean
Imagine you’re applying for a job. It’s a great gig, the pay is a huge improvement, and you’re really excited about the benefits. You feel like you’ve hit it off with the hiring manager and you’re sure that the next call you get will be an offer. Finally, they call you back—you’re hired!
So long as you can pass a background check.
For a lot of people, that’s no big deal—but if you’ve got a record, you know that sinking feeling you get when you realize that you may not get a job or an apartment because of your prior convictions.
Fortunately, a criminal record may not always be the end of the world—in fact, some infractions, convictions, and other transgressions may be expunged.
What Washington Law Allows
In the state of Washington, folks with criminal records have options. Juvenile records, for example, can be sealed after a minor turns 18, providing certain provisions apply. Convictions stemming from drug or sex offenses may not be sealed.
Misdemeanors, meanwhile, can be vacated based on a number of criteria, including the length of time since the case resolved, what sort of criminal matters remain pending, whether prior convictions have been vacated, and what type of offense or charge is sought to be vacated.
Even some felonies can be vacated under Washington State law once a person has completed all conditions of a felony sentence, including payment of legal financial obligations (LFOs). Upon meeting those conditions, a person may be entitled to a certificate of discharge which relieves them of conditions of their sentence.
What Does It Mean To Clear A Record?
The benefits of getting records expunged are exponential. A cleared record means that you can safely, legally inform future employers, lenders, and educational institutions that you were never convicted of a crime. Essentially, it’s as though they never happened.
However, it is important to recognize that some felony convictions may be able to be discharged, but still take away certain rights and privileges, such as the right to vote, the right to own or possess a firearm, and access to certain types of employment.
That said, even without the right to bear arms, a sealed record can have a major impact on a person’s life—and it’s worth looking into. If you’re interested in clearing your record, the best course of action is to speak with an attorney. Though not all convictions are eligible, you may never know what you can achieve until you ask.
If Your Record Is Working Against You, Contact the Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers at Baker, Lewis, Schwisow & Laws
The expert defense team at Baker, Lewis, Schwisow & Laws, PLLC vigorously defend the rights of individuals facing a multitude of charges in Seattle, Bellevue, and Kirkland. Contact us today at 206.209.0608 or fill out our online contact form to get more information or to get a free case review!