If you’ve been convicted of a misdemeanor in Washington you already know how difficult it can be to obtain employment, housing, certain insurance and bonds, commercial financing, professional licensing, or even travel to some countries. The good news is you may be eligible to have your conviction vacated for good. The Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer devotes a substantial part of its practice helping people convicted of crimes in Washington restore their record and removing the barriers a conviction can have on life’s opportunities.
Even if you do not qualify, but are seeking a professional license or you are at risk of losing your current professional license, we may still be able to help! [Click here to Learn More about Obtaining a Certification of Restoration of Opportunity]
Often the terms Expungement and Vacation are used interchangeably; however, they do have different meanings.
EXPUNGEMENT means to delete or destroy a record. Expungement requires statutory authority. Unfortunately, there is NO statutory authority to expunge criminal conviction records in Washington except for certain diversion cases.
VACATION in the criminal context allows a defendant to withdrawal a plea of guilty, enter a plea of not guilty and have the court dismiss the case. If you were convicted at trial, a vacation will allow the court to set aside a finding of guilty and allow the court will dismiss the case.
Washington allows certain persons convicted of misdemeanors to vacate their conviction. In our opinion a vacated misdemeanor is far superior to the typical expungement found in other states.
EFFECTS of having a criminal conviction vacated can have a hugely positive effect on your life.
- You can legally state without hesitation and "for all purposes" that've you’ve never been convicted of the crime you have successfully vacated.
- You are released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense.
- The court order vacating your conviction is sent to the Washington State Patrol and the FBI. Your record of conviction cannot be disclosed except to other criminal justice enforcement agencies.
Overall this can positively affect your ability to obtain employment, housing, certain insurance and bonds, commercial financing, professional licensing, or even travel to some countries.
The law in general is full of exceptions. Here is what you should know:
- If you were convicted of any of the following domestic violence misdemeanors after July 1, 1993, (Assault 4 - DV, Coercion -DV, Stalking - DV, Reckless Endangerment - DV, Criminal Trespass 1- DV, or Violating a Protection Order or No-Contact Order) and it was committed by one family or household member against another family or household member the court was required to inform you orally and in writing that your right to possess and use firearms was revoked. Vacating your conviction will NOT restore your firearm rights. Good News! We can also help you get your firearm rights restored.
- When applying for professional licensing, the licensing board or agency can require that you disclose your prior convictions regardless of whether it was vacated. Prior misdemeanor and even some felony convictions are not generally automatic bars to professional licensing; however, failing to make proper disclosures in the application process can be a bar in many cases. Often the fact that you have been conviction free, completed all terms of your sentence, and took the additional step to vacate your conviction can make the difference in your application.Good News! We can also help you prepare your professional licensing application, document, and highlight your vacation and overall rehabilitation.
- The record of your conviction and the fact that your conviction was vacated is maintained electronically by the court even after your file is destroyed by the court. A nosey colleague, or private investigator may find your conviction and subsequent vacation unless you take the appropriate steps to seal your record.
- The court, the FBI and the Washington State Patrol don’t control private third-party databases which may have a record of your conviction. In fact, some third-party databases will continue to report the conviction even after its been vacated.
- If you are not a citizen of the United States your vacated conviction may still operate as a conviction for purposes of determining your admissibility, or in removal from the country. Good News! We can review your case to determine if you may be eligible for other post-conviction relief. We have helped several clients reverse convictions on state and federal constitutional grounds after removal proceedings have been initiated which has ultimately prevented our clients from being deported.
The answer depends on several complicated factors. Certain types of misdemeanors such as DUI’s and sex crimes are not eligible to be vacated. Additionally, you can only vacate one misdemeanor in Washington during your lifetime. Note: Felonies have different rules. An exception applies if you were convicted of 2 or more misdemeanors arising out of the same conduct at the same time. If so, you may be eligible to vacate multiple misdemeanors arising out of the same conduct which occurred at the same time together.
Depending on the type of misdemeanor you must have completed all terms of your sentence including any probation, and have been free of any new convictions for either three (3) years for most misdemeanors, or five (5) years for domestic violence misdemeanors. DUI’s reduced to Negligent Driving First Degree, Reckless Driving, or Reckless Endangerment are eligible after 10 years. Additionally, any out of state convictions must be reviewed and may have an effect on the overall analysis. The Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer offers a Free Eligibility Test and Review of your Situation.
The only guarantees in life are death and taxes. All joking aside, the court has the ultimate discretion in granting or denying your request to have your conviction vacated. The Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer has a very high success rate in vacating our client’s misdemeanor convictions. How? We perform a thorough background check on each client and extensively interview our clients to ensure they will be successful. Unlike other firms, we won’t charge you a dime unless we believe you will be successful in vacating your conviction. If we ever make a mistake that results in your petition being denied, we will take responsibility and make it right - We Guarantee It.
We are licensed to practice in every court in Washington and have practiced in dozens of jurisdictions. We have the resources and contacts state-wide to assist you no matter where you reside in Washington, or where your conviction in Washington occurred.
In most cases the Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer can handle everything in your case. We review your case and your criminal history thoroughly, prepare all documents needed to be filed with the court, obtain your signature in person, by mail, email, or through our website, file the documents with the court, serve a copy on all required parties, and appear in court on your behalf. In most cases no personal appearance is necessary. If we advise that it is, we generally do all of the arguing and talking for you.
We know you’re anxious to restore your clean record and move on with your life, and because time is money, we work hard and strive to complete each case in as little as 3-4 weeks. Some exceptions apply, such clients with multiple state out-of-state criminal histories, but by-and-far most clients see results within weeks of contacting our office.
We accept Cash, Check, Money Orders, Cashier’s Checks, Visa, MasterCard, Discovery, and American Express. We offer affordable short term payment plans and will work with you and your budget to make this happens. We even offer discounts to U.S. Veterans and Disabled People with fixed incomes. What are you waiting for? Get started today!