Everyone makes mistakes. Most people learn from those mistakes; however, that one mistake haunts them for the rest of their lives.
They deserve a second chance. Fortunately, having your criminal record vacated can provide that.
What does it mean to have a conviction “vacated”?
A criminal record can significantly impact your life, making it difficult to find a job or rent an apartment. In Washington, non-convictions can usually be expunged from your record. However, there is no law in place that allows a court to destroy court records.
But, the court allows certain types of offenses, such as misdemeanors and nonviolent felony crimes, to be vacated, which means your conviction will be set aside. To be eligible for a conviction to be vacated, offenders must typically meet specific requirements, such as completing their sentence and staying out of trouble for a set period.
Although a vacated conviction does not entirely erase an offender’s criminal history, it can provide a fresh start and help them move on with their life. Some benefits may include:
- More job opportunities
- Better housing options
- Being able to apply for a credit card
- Improved mental health and overall well-being
- Government benefits
- Security clearances
- Professional licensing
In order to have your record vacated, you must first file a petition with the court. The petition must include certain information about your conviction, as well as a statement from you indicating that you have been rehabilitated and are unlikely to re-offend. Once the petition is filed, the court will set a hearing date. Having legal representation to guide you through the process may help improve the likelihood of having your record vacated, allowing you to make a fresh start.