Expungement is really just a fancy way of saying deletion. RCW 10.97.060 allows non-conviction data to be deleted from criminal justice agency files so that information does not appear in searches. These databases are usually among the ones checked during background investigations performed by employers and state agencies.
Our office understands that an expungement can mean world of difference in the lives of our clients. An expungement is very important in getting your record back in shape and keeping your past from clouding up the rest of your life. To schedule a consultation to see how our office can help, we will need to review a current WATCH report listing your prior convictions. To obtain a report, please visit the Washington State Patrol WATCH Report website.
RCW 10.97.060 may allow you to expunge non-conviction data if:
- at least 2 years has passed since the record became nonconviction data as a result of an entry of disposition in favor of the applicant; or
- at least 3 years from the date of arrest or issuance of a citation or warrant for and offense for which a conviction was not obtained unless the applicant is a fugitive or the case is under active prosecution according to a current certification made by the prosecuting attorney.
Qualifying for an expungement and getting an expungement, however, are two different things. The law gives criminal justice agencies the discretion as to whether they will delete information from their records in certain circumstances. Hiring an experienced expungement attorney will likely help achieve the desired result. Agencies have the option to deny an expungement if:
- the disposition was a deferred prosecution or similar diversion of the alleged offender;
- the applicant has had a prior conviction for a felony or gross misdemeanor; or
- the applicant has been arrested for or charged with another crime during the intervening period.
There is hope even for people who have their attempt to expunge a record denied. RCW 10.97.060 gives the Judge ultimate authority to order the modification or deletion of a record in a particular case or concerning a particular person or event. Call us and see if we can help you move past your past and start living for your future.