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How to Expunge Your Record in Washington State

Expungement is the removal of non-conviction data from your record


Nonconviction data refers to any arrests that did not result in negative consequences. Criminal conviction records cannot be expunged in the State of Washington. Only nonconviction data such as arrest records and charges/cases that were dropped, dismissed, or resulted in no conviction can be expunged.


There are two systems where records are expunged. The Washington State Patrol (WSP) and the Judicial Information System (JIS). If the records are not expunged from both systems, they could still potentially show up on a background check. Be advised that an FBI background check will still reveal expunged records; however, if done properly on both systems, any non-FBI background check will not.

Expunging a WSP Record


One of the moments when you are very likely to end up having to go through a background check is when you are applying for a new job. Your potential employer is very likely to have you go through this process as a simple way of checking to see what kind of job candidate you are. Ideally, they want someone who has proven that they are responsible and does not have a criminal record of any kind. Thus, you need your slate to be clean if you want to get the best job possible.


The WSP provides a checklist to get your records expunged. After a two-year waiting period has elapsed and you have a final disposition of your arrest, you may proceed as follows:


If your case was dismissed and your dismissal was entered after diversion or after deferral (includes other deferrals), you are not eligible for deletion with WSP.


If your case resulted in one of the following: guilty, vacated, bail forfeiture, pardoned, or not guilty by reason of insanity, you are not eligible for deletion with WSP.


If your case was dismissed, and your dismissal was entered:


After an Appeal


Stay of Proceedings


Stipulated Order of Continuance (SOC)


Agreed Order of Continuance (AOC)


And none of the following applies:


A prior gross misdemeanor conviction


A prior felony conviction


Arrests, charges, or convictions during the intervening period — Intervening period is from the arrest date requested for expungement to the date the expungement is processed by WSP.


You may request the expungement by completing the WSP Request for Expungement/Deletion of Non-Conviction Records.


If your case was dropped, no charge was filed, you were found not guilty, the prosecution declined, you were released with no charge, the case was stricken, you were acquitted, and none of the following applies to you:


A prior gross misdemeanor conviction


A prior felony conviction


Arrests, charges, or convictions during the intervening period — Intervening period is from the arrest date requested for expungement to the date the expungement is processed by WSP.


You may request the expungement by completing the WSP Request for Expungement/Deletion of Non-Conviction Records.

Expunging a JIS Record


This is not a straightforward process and may require an attorney to complete. Every court within the State of Washington has different rules and regulations governing the expungement of court records. First, you must determine the court responsible for your case, i.e., the court that has jurisdiction for the matter and then follow their unique process to request the expungement of your record.


Remember, even if you have had your record expunged by WSP, your record could still be displayed on a background check if the JIS record is not also expunged as well.


Vacating a Conviction


To vacate a conviction, we recommend consulting with an attorney as you will need to appear in court as part of the process. This is not something to be entered into lightly, and your best chance of success is having an attorney by your side. If you do not see information regarding the records you wish to have expunged, such as something involving financial obligations, contact an attorney for further guidance.









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