A criminal record act like a dark cloud hanging over your head for the rest of your life. It can bar you from securing a college admission, finding work and housing, owning a firearm or even participating in the electoral process. Even a conviction for a minor infraction can be a huge problem.
If you have a criminal record in Washington, however, it can help to know that you may be able to have it expunged. Of course, this effort will not totally erase the record in question. However, it will limit who can access it. And for the most part, this shift can allow you to carry on with your life as though you have no record to speak of.
These are two of the primary grounds upon which you can expunge your criminal record in Washington, although they are certainly not the only grounds that justify expungement. As a result, you’ll likely benefit from speaking with an attorney about whether you’re in a position to have your record expunged.
If you were never convicted of a crime, you deserve to have charges erased from your record just as much as you deserve your freedom. You do not have to wait to petition for expunction on grounds of actual innocence. Furthermore, all types of offenses – from misdemeanors to felonies—are eligible for relief on this basis.
To successfully petition for expunction on the basis of actual innocence, you will need to convince the court that the offense in question did not happen or that you were not the perpetrator of the offense listed on your record.
If you were arrested for, charged with or convicted of an offense that has since been decriminalized, then you may petition to have the offense in question expunged from your record. For instance, being in possession of recreational marijuana is no longer illegal in Washington. Thus, if you were previously arrested or convicted for marijuana possession, then you may be eligible for expunction on this ground.
Generally, an expunction restores you back to the legal position you were in before an arrest and/or conviction. Find out how you can petition for an expunction of your criminal record in Washington in order to secure a brighter future.