Most of us are thankful as adults that the people in our lives will never know some of the things we did as children or young adults. When the folly of youth comes with an arrest or worse, a conviction, the consequences are far worse than being embarrassed. For adults with criminal records, landing the jobs that can advance careers can be out of reach. If you have a criminal record containing arrests or convictions, you could be eligible to have your charges expunged, also known as vacated. When you vacate a misdemeanor or a felony from your criminal record, legally, you are permitted to deny that it ever even occurred. Criminal records that are expunged means that not only are the details of the case removed from your permanent record, but the charges are reversed and dismissed as well.
What Criminal Charges Can Be Expunged?
There are difference rules associated with misdemeanors and felonies to have either of them expunged. The number of convictions are not as important to your eligibility as the nature and severity of the crimes. In addition to the scrutiny of the crimes, the individual also must pass certain requirements to petition for expungement.
Misdemeanor charges can be expunged if the charges and the individual are able to pass the muster on these rules:
- The person applying for expungement must not have any current charges.
- The person must not have any new convictions on their record.
- The person must not ever have had another conviction expunged.
- The person must not have been restrained by an order of protection in the last five years.
- The offense must NOT be a DUI conviction.
- No violent offenses may be expunged.
- No crimes against another person may be expunged.
- No offenses involving obscenity or sexual exploitation of children can be expunged.
If you are considering having your criminal records expunged, you must wait at least three years after the conviction. In some instances, this waiting period can be longer. An experienced criminal law attorney can help you to determine if any of the exceptions apply to you and your case.
In Washington, certain felony convictions also can sometimes be expunged. The first test for felonies is to submit the criminal record and individual to all the same rules as a misdemeanor. Then, if the felony is a class B felony, the person must wait 10 years after the conviction to petition the court. Class C felonies require a five-year wait.
Are Your Past Mistakes Holding You Back?
If your life is limited by your prior convictions that have put a blockade between you and the job you want or the place where you want to live, expungement or vacating your criminal record can be your answer. Getting this right can mean the difference between a life of stagnation or a life of growth and prosperity. Call the Karimi Law Office today at 206-621-8777 to make an appointment so you can learn more about your options.