Protecting Your Future With Compassion And Understanding

I don’t qualify for record sealing or expungement. Now what?

On Behalf of | Feb 28, 2024 | Redemption Law

In a perfect world, the legal system should reward people who have worked hard to turn their lives around after past mistakes. Unfortunately, even after putting in the work, some people learn they aren’t eligible for incentives like pardons, expungement or vacating a conviction. When all other options are exhausted, there’s still one possible route to legal relief in Washington State: A Certificate of Restoration of Opportunity (CROP).

What is a CROP?

Washington passed the CROP bill in 2016. The state designed the law to allow the courts to formally declare someone as “rehabilitated,” which can significantly reduce your restrictions on things like employment, housing and any other undertaking that requires a background check.

This legal relief comes in the form of a note on your criminal record, saying you have paid your debt to society while avoiding new legal trouble. Though it’s not as thorough as having a conviction expunged, a CROP still substantially improves your quality of life.

Importantly, you should not seek a CROP if you have a juvenile criminal record. You’re better off petitioning to have your juvenile record sealed.

What are the eligibility requirements for a CROP?

To be eligible for a CROP, you must have satisfied all the terms and conditions of your sentence, including prison, probation and related financial obligations while remaining a law-abiding citizen. Depending on the conviction, there’s also a waiting period ranging from one to five years.

A CROP is not available to people who are Class A felons. Also disqualified are people convicted of a sex crime, drive-by shooting or extortion.

Is getting a CROP difficult?

Unfortunately, yes, it can be challenging. Being a last-chance opportunity for legal relief for people who have committed serious crimes, it’s a high hurdle to clear. It’s strongly recommended that you enlist experienced legal representation and compile exhaustive evidence that you’re living life on the straight and narrow.

You can get the ball rolling by downloading CROP forms and instructions from the Washington Courts website.