Having a criminal record makes life more difficult. A criminal record can limit you from getting a higher-paying job, renting a place to live, or obtaining professional licenses. A criminal record can take away your Second Amendment right to own a gun. There are countless things in life that a criminal record can make difficult, and you likely understand that if you’re living with one.
Washington provides the public with access to most criminal records and maintains these records in multiple locations. When arrested or convicted in Washington, it is almost certain that at least one criminal justice agency will keep your criminal record forever. Typically, the arresting agency, court clerk, and Washington State Patrol will have copies or access to your records, and, very often, your records are forwarded to the FBI Criminal Justice Information Service as well.
Fortunately, Washington allows residents to vacate both misdemeanor and felony convictions, restore firearm rights, and seal arrest records. There are many rules to satisfy in order to be eligible, but hundreds of thousands with Washington records qualify to vacate their conviction, restore their firearm rights, or both. Many people are either unaware of their record until failing a background check, or they don’t realize that the records can be dealt with.
Since the majority of people reading this aren’t lawyers, we’ve tried to simplify the legal jargon on our website, so regular people may follow along and get the information needed to understand their rights. However, before we get started, we should be clear that some of this information can get complicated, and, in many cases, it’s best to seek the assistance of an experienced lawyer.
To help you understand your rights, our lawyers have developed a tool that can be helpful in figuring out your options. This tool can’t be perfectly accurate in every situation, but our lawyers have invested substantial time and resources working to make it as accurate as possible.
You can get started by using our Secure Eligibility Test, or you can give us a call at (844) 947-3732 to see if our legal staff is available for a free consultation. Be aware that our staff is often busy with current clients and a high volume of calls and appointments. If you’re serious about getting rid of your record, your best bet is to take our secure, confidential Eligibility Test and then schedule an appointment to discuss your results and options.
Washington law permits you to vacate both misdemeanor and felony convictions, seal arrest records with respect to the Washington State Patrol, restore firearm rights, and also seal juvenile records. The two biggest issues our law firm’s clients encounter relate to getting a job and restoring firearm rights, so we’re going to discuss each.
Vacating an adult conviction and sealing juvenile convictions are the most effective ways to pass a background check and obtain a job. Both services will prevent the conviction from showing up in a background check and allow you to legally state that you have not been convicted of a crime.
Arrests are not as much of a barrier to employment as a conviction, but it’s certainly preferable when background checks do not contain prior arrests. An arrest that didn’t result in a conviction shouldn’t prevent you from getting a job, but they obviously can affect how an employer views you as a candidate. Unfortunately, Washington doesn’t have a great process for the sealing of arrest records. However, many background checks are performed by the Washington State Patrol, and you can often have those records destroyed. It should just be known that the record may still exist with the courts, and it is incredibly difficult to have the courts seal arrest records.
Vacating a conviction does not restore your firearm rights. The laws allowing you to vacate convictions are clear on this issue. An arrest that didn’t result in a conviction should not affect your firearm rights, so sealing an arrest record also will not restore your firearm rights.
The only official way to restore firearm rights that were taken due to an adult conviction is to petition the courts using RCW 9.41.040. This firearm rights restoration process is quite broad and applies to both juvenile and adult convictions. Juveniles may restore their firearm rights by either sealing their juvenile record, or by using the restoration process available to adults. Both services will completely restore your Second Amendment rights, unless there is another reason restricting your firearm rights.
We will go into more detail regarding restoring Second Amendment rights in Washington on our Washington Firearm Rights Restoration page, but restoration typically involves both state and federal law that should be handled by an experienced lawyer. The lawyers in our firm regularly handle complex firearm rights restoration issues, so a good first step in exploring whether you can restore your firearm rights would be to take our Secure Eligibility Test. Then, if appropriate, set up a time to speak with our legal staff about how to proceed.
If you are tired of having a criminal record hold you back, reach out to us by taking our Secure Eligibility Test or by giving us a call at (844) 947-3732. Our law firm has helped thousands of people with criminal records move on in life, leaving many of the negative effects of a criminal record behind. Our experienced attorneys and legal staff are here to help you figure out what criminal record clearing services best fit your needs, and then help you accomplish your goals. Using our secure, confidential Eligibility Test is the best way to get the process started.Some of the potential benefits of expunging your criminal record in Washngton include:
Removing a finding of guilt from your criminal record to help you get a better job
Becoming eligible for professional licenses you previously did not qualify for
Restoring your Second Amendment Right to bear arms
No longer being treated as a felon
Increased eligibility for student loans, housing assistance, and government programs
Improving your ability to obtain higher-paying job opportunities
Improving your ability to obtain higher-paying job opportunities
Improving access and admission to college and other educational resources
Each of Washington’s methods for dealing with your criminal record have different requirements and are meant for different circumstances. To move forward, it’s important to determine what Washington criminal record services are available to you, and then select the services that will provide the greatest benefit. Eastman Meyler, PC is here to help you navigate this very specific area of Washington criminal law, fight to protect your rights, and assist you in moving forward in life without the effects of a Washington criminal record.
You can trust that you will get exceptional service from our law firm, as we have an A Rating from the Better Business Bureau, and prestigious attorney rating services such as Thompson Reuters and Avvo list our attorneys as Super Lawyers and Superb Attorneys. Our law firm has attorneys licensed to practice law in all Washington state courts, provides low price guarantees, and is here to fight for you and put your criminal record behind you!