Expungement

Expungement/Vacate Prior Convictions, Seal Records, and Restore Gun Rights

Expunge, Vacate, and Seal Convictions in Island County, Oak Harbor, and the Greater Seattle Area

Convictions can be removed. Criminal records can be cleared. Criminal histories can be improved. Life can go on.

The existence of a criminal conviction can devastate one’s ability to improve their socioeconomic circumstances. Oftentimes criminal history must be disclosed to schools, potential employers, landlords, loan officers, insurance companies, governmental agencies, and military recruiters. As a result, a conviction can have a major negative impact on one’s life. Furthermore, having a criminal record can be downright embarrassing.

The first step in the vacation process requires the attorney to determine whether the client qualifies under the proper statute to vacate the conviction. Thereafter, the proper forms must be filed with the proper court. Following this a hearing will be scheduled on the court calendar. The prosecutor will then check the individual’s criminal history and determine whether the individual is in fact eligible to have his conviction vacated. The positions of the parties will be presented before the court on the date of the hearing and the court will then enter an order based on its determination.

When an individual’s prior conviction is vacated he or she will be released from all civil penalties and disabilities arising due to such a conviction. Additionally, a person whose prior conviction has been vacated may legally state that he or she has never been convicted of the vacated crime. This is for all purposes including responding to questions on applications. In short, vacating a prior conviction can relieve one from the stigma of having a criminal record.

The attorney’s at Platt & Buescher have an emphasis in this area of law. Our office has handled complex matters within this practice area and our attorney’s have successfully argued for retroactive dating to shorten the period of time required to vacate a felony. We will review a client’s criminal history and develop a comprehensive plan that is best for the individual and his or her needs.

Seal Your Criminal Records

Vacation is only the first step. The attorneys at Platt & Buescher go beyond seeking vacation and argue for sealing in order to maximize privacy. While vacation permits one to legally state they have not been convicted of the vacated crime, sealing prevents the court from revealing information concerning the crime.

Sealing is discretionary with the court. When one seeks to have their criminal records sealed, the court may engage in a balancing test where the privacy and safety concerns of the individual will be weighed against the public interest in maintaining records of the conviction. Factors the court may consider in favor of sealing include whether the conviction has been vacated and whether the individual has identified circumstances that require sealing.

When court records are sealed, they are protected from examination by the public.

Restore Gun Rights

A conviction of a crime may result in an individual losing their right to possess a firearm. This in turn can mean that the individual will be prohibited from engaging in recreational activities such as hunting. Moreover, this will also prevent the individual from keeping firearms in the home for the defense of one’s self, family, or livestock and animals.

Statutory law in Washington provides ways for an individual to have their firearm possessory rights restored.

Contact us today at (360) 678-6777 to set up your consultation to develop a plan to clear your criminal conviction, clean up your criminal history, restore your rights, and begin the process of putting the past behind you and moving on with your life.