The criminal justice system offers several different ways for individuals who have paid their debt to society – or who have been wrongfully convicted – to seek specific forms of redemption related to their criminal record. The most common (and well-understood) forms of redemption are expungement, pardons and having a conviction vacated.
Yet, not everyone who is deserving of redemption is eligible for these opportunities. In Washington State, when no other opportunity for redemption applies to an individual’s situation, they may benefit from researching their options concerning CROPs.
The ins and outs
CROP stands for Certification of Restoration of Opportunity. Once a CROP is granted, it will be noted on an individual’s criminal record, which can make it significantly easier for that individual to get a job, secure housing, obtain an employment-related license, etc. Why? Because it indicates that the state has determined that the individual in question has been sufficiently rehabilitated from their criminal past.
While this opportunity does not eliminate an entry from someone’s criminal record, it can make their life much easier. As a result, submitting a petition to the court asking to be declared rehabilitated is an effort that is worth many people’s time and energy.
To be eligible for a CROP, an individual must have completed the terms of their sentence (including paying any fines imposed upon them related to their wrongdoing), avoided convictions for any new crimes and must not be a required sex offender. Class A felons and those who have been convicted of sex crimes, drive-by shootings or extortion are ineligible for CROPs.
Navigating the CROPs process is not a straightforward undertaking. As the stakes of this process are high, it is generally a good idea for individuals interested in applying for a CROP to seek legal guidance before beginning to work through it.