Washington State gives people with criminal records the chance to expunge their records, giving them the opportunity to put an old conviction behind them so it no longer holds them back. But the process is complicated, and many eligible people are intimidated or frustrated out of trying.
One alternative getting increasing attention across the country is to change the law to automatically seal an offender’s criminal record in some way. Instead of putting the burden on the individual to show that they are entitled to having their record expunged and hidden from most background checks, an automatic expungement would simply take care of it after enough time has passed. This can be done by computer with minimal human involvement. Until this is enacted in Washington State, it is probably best to hire a lawyer to help you with the process.
How expungement can help your life
As people with a serious crime on their record know, it can make doing anything that involves a background check virtually impossible. This includes applying for jobs and apartments. Too many employers and landlords won’t give someone with an old conviction a chance. As a result, many former offenders are forced to live in crime-infested, run-down housing and work low-paying, insecure jobs. Expungement can take these restraints away and allow you to live life with more dignity and possibility.