Protecting Your Future With Compassion And Understanding

Am I eligible for a Certificate of Restoration of Opportunity?

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2024 | Redemption Law

Washington State has several options for people who have made mistakes in the past and are ready to move forward on a new path in life. Sealing juvenile records, expungement, sex offender registry removal and The New Hope Act all offer a degree of restored rights and/or freedom that can profoundly improve one’s life.

However, not everyone is eligible for those forms of legal relief. For those people, there’s one final option, a Certificate of Restoration of Opportunity (CROP).

What is a CROP?

A CROP is essentially as it sounds; a renewed chance at the freedom someone had before a conviction. Legal restrictions are lifted that ease key aspects of the recipient’s life, including job opportunities, housing and professional licensing.

A CROP does not clean or seal a criminal record. Instead, it indicates the State has recognized that the individual has paid their debt, atoned for past mistakes and is now on a positive path forward. As the bill’s lead sponsor, Washington State Rep. Brady Walkinshaw (D-Seattle) put it, CROPs contribute to “building safer and healthier communities through increased employment opportunities and reduced recidivism.”

Who is eligible for a CROP?

People who satisfy the following criteria may pursue a CROP:

  • You have completed prison or probation
  • You have fulfilled the terms of your sentence(s)
  • You have satisfied any Legal Financial Obligations (LFOs), are sticking to an ongoing payment plan or have been excused from your payment plan
  • You have not been charged with any new crimes since your sentencing
  • You are not required to register as a sex offender
  • Your criminal record does not include a:
    • Class A felony
    • Sex offense
    • Crime with sexual motivation
    • Extortion
    • Drive-by shooting
    • Luring

There is also a waiting period, which varies depending on your conviction: one year for a misdemeanor with no jail time; one and a half years after release for a misdemeanor with jail time; two years after release or sentencing for Class B or C felonies; five years for a violent offense.

How do I start?

Washington has put out a pamphlet with CROP information and resources. You will need a copy of your criminal history and proof that you have completed the terms of your sentence. You’ll need to file the petition paperwork with the superior court where you live or the superior court where you were sentenced. Finally, you’ll need to notify the prosecuting attorney in the county where you file your petition.

This is merely a high-level overview of a CROP. If you’d like to pursue a CROP, refer to the pamphlet linked above or contact an attorney that specializes in redemption law.