We all have baggage, both literal and metaphorical. A healthy relationship is frequently hampered by emotional baggage. However, having a criminal record can make it difficult to get jobs, loans, or even rent an apartment.
If a single mistake in the past resulted in your arrest and prosecution, you can petition the Washington courts to have your records expunged. This means they’ll be sealed for good. Anyone conducting a background check will not have access to them, and you will be legally entitled to claim that the incident never occurred. Washington expungement laws allow you to clear your criminal record and start over.
Your chances of obtaining an expungement increase if the charges against you were dismissed or you were found not guilty. If you have a criminal conviction, you must meet certain requirements before an expungement can be granted.
Expungement of Juvenile Records
If there is one time in our lives when we make the most errors, it is when we are teenagers. Sometimes our mistakes land us in hot water with the law, but that is no reason to let that incident ruin the rest of your life.
According to Washington expungement laws, you can request to have your records sealed when you turn 18 only if you had one conviction, paid the fine, and the crime did not involve anything sexual. Keep in mind that if you are later charged with a felony, these records may be unsealed.
Expungement Waiting Period
One of the guiding principles of criminal record expungement is that it only applies to first-time offenders. There are waiting periods before you can apply for an expungement to ensure that you stay out of trouble. If you were charged with a Class B felony, you will be sentenced to ten years in prison. The wait for a Class C is five years. A misdemeanor conviction will keep you from applying for two years.
Expungement Requirements for Felony Convictions
To have your adult felony criminal record expunged, you must meet the same requirements as you would for a juvenile record. You must have served your sentence or paid your fine. There must also be no other charges pending against you. Furthermore, the conviction you wish to have expunged must not have involved a sexual offense or bodily harm to another person. With a Class A felony conviction, you will not be granted an expungement.
Expungement Requirements for Misdemeanor Convictions
If you want your misdemeanor convictions expunged, you must wait the specified time period without having any other convictions pending against you. If your conviction was for a sexual offense, it did not involve intoxication, or you have a court order of protection against you, you will be denied expungement.
You should seek legal advice before filing for an expungement. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to navigate the Washington court system and ensure that your application is up to date. You do not want to make a mistake when applying for an expungement.