If you have been detained, arrested, charged, acquitted, or convicted of a crime—even as a juvenile—you may have a criminal record. Criminal records are maintained by the courts and law enforcement agencies and may be discoverable by those in the general public. Your criminal record may affect your reputation, employment opportunities, or housing applications, and may be considered in determining sentencing if you are convicted of a later crime.
Criminal records are not automatically vacated even if you have completed the requirements of the sentence or probation. You must file a motion and attend a hearing to have this information removed from your record. At Blair & Kim, we understand the importance of protecting your rights.
Under the laws of Washington, we may be able to prevent others from accessing information about your prior offenses. We can help you attempt to seal, vacate, or expunge your criminal history. This means your records will be destroyed or may be more difficult to discover or view without a court order.
If we successfully seal, vacate, or expunge your record, you have the right to “deny” or “fail to acknowledge” the conviction or proceedings on applications and other documents that may request information about your criminal history. After your record is vacated, you will be able to state that you have never been convicted of a crime. And once your conviction is vacated, the conviction will not be included in your criminal history for determining your sentence in a later crime. However, the conviction may still be used in a later criminal proceeding.
In addition to sealing, vacating, or expunging your criminal history, you can challenge your criminal history if it is inaccurate or incomplete. If you have a criminal history you would like to delete or challenge, contact Blair & Kim to see if we can help.
For more information on sealing, vacating, or expunging your criminal record, see http://www.courts.wa.gov/forms/?fa=forms.contribute&formID=38; http://www.courts.wa.gov/newsinfo/index.cfm?fa=newsinfo.displayContent&theFile=content/guideToCrimHistoryRecords.