Expunge/Vacate and Seal Juvenile Records In Washington State

The attorneys at Platt & Buescher can help those convicted of juvenile offense seal their record.

Previous juvenile convictions can have numerous consequences beyond the direct consequences of a sentence. Employers may look at the person in a negative light. Landlords may think twice before leasing. Institutions of higher education may ignore scholastic performance or relevant qualifications. And a prior conviction can cause an interview to become awkward or embarrassing.

Washington state law provides a procedure where an individual can obtain relief from a prior juvenile conviction. RCW 13.50.050 provides the requirements for vacating and sealing juvenile offense records.

A person found guilty of a class A juvenile offense may be able to vacate and seal his or her offense records if the person:

  1. has spent five successive years without committing a crime;
  2. has no proceedings pending against him or her;
  3. has been relieved of the duty to register as a sex offender or is otherwise no longer required to register;
  4. has not been convicted of first or second degree rape or indecent liberties committed with forcible compulsion;
  5. has paid restitution in full. RCW 13.50.050(12)(a).

A juvenile found guilty of a class B or C felony, a gross misdemeanor, or misdemeanor offense may be able to vacate and seal juvenile offense records if the person:

  1. has spent two successive years without committing crime;
  2. has no proceeding pending against him or her;
  3. has been relieved of the duty to register as a sex offender or is otherwise no longer required to register;
  4. has paid restitution in full. RCW 13.50.050(12)(b).

The relief available under RCW 13.50.050 is significant. If the court grants a motion to seal it will seal the official juvenile court file, social file, and other records regarding the case. The proceedings in the case will then be treated as if they never occurred. The person who obtains this relief may reply to any inquiry about the events (records of which are sealed) as if they never occurred. And any agency can neither affirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence of the sealed records. See RCW 13.50.050(14)(a). Case law also holds that an offense that is vacated and sealed under RCW 13.50.050 will no longer cause the person to be prohibited from possessing firearms under Washington state law. In re the Matter of Restoration of Firearm Rights of Nelson v. State, 120 Wash.App. 470 (2004). And, unlike many adult convictions, there is no express limitation on the number of juvenile offense records that can be sealed. Therefore, individuals with juvenile records have a significant opportunity to improve their criminal history.

Do not allow your prior juvenile record to continue to hinder your progress. If you believe you meet the requirements of RCW 13.50.050 listed above, contact Platt & Buescher Attorneys at Law at (206) 569-8630 or (360) 678-6777 to speak with a expungement lawyer serving Island County, Oak Harbor, Coupeville, Whidbey Island, NAS Whidbey, Skagit County, Burlington, Mount Vernon, Anacortes, Whatcom County, Seattle, King County, and Western Washington.