Expunging, Vacating or Removing a Felony Conviction

Expunging, Vacating or Removing a Felony Conviction. A Washington Criminal Defense Lawyer | Attorney’s Perspective.

As criminal defense lawyers | attorneys, one of the most pleasurable and generally simple steps to take in a criminal case is helping clients remove | vacate | expunge an old felony conviction (RCW 9.94A.640) because they have moved forward with their lives and they would like to have finally close their past mistakes.  Though this process can take longer than it should as the bureaucratic process is slow, our defense lawyers | attorneys can generally get an Order signed by a judge within 6 weeks or so if there are no problems.  Both the court and our office send the Order to Washington State Patrol and the National Criminal Information Database to update their records.  Once the Order vacating your Felony conviction is processed, State law allows you to assert that you have never been convicted of that crime.

There are 4 common stumbling blocks for people looking to vacate their felony conviction.

  1. Not all felony convictions can be vacated. As criminal defense lawyers | attorneys who have seen a lot of cases in our careers, the general advice is that the vacating | expunging | removing statute for felonies is designed for low level drug, theft and behavior that didn’t harm others.  If your crime is listed below, the law does not allow it to be | removed | vacated off your record: (1) Any felony defined under any law as a class A felony or an attempt to commit a class A felony; (2) Criminal solicitation of or criminal conspiracy to commit a class A felony;(3) Manslaughter in the first degree; (4) Manslaughter in the second degree; (5) Indecent liberties if committed by forcible compulsion; (6) Kidnapping in the second degree; (7) Arson in the second degree; (8) Assault in the second degree; (9) Assault of a child in the second degree; (10) Extortion in the first degree; (11) Robbery in the second degree; (12) Drive-by shooting; (13) Vehicular assault, when caused by the operation or driving of a vehicle by a person while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or by the operation or driving of a vehicle in a reckless manner; and (14) Vehicular homicide when proximately caused by the driving of any vehicle by any person while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug as defined by RCW 46.61.502, or by the operation of any vehicle in a reckless manner; (15) Aggravated murder; (16) first or second degree murder; (17) first or second degree kidnapping; (18) first, second, or third degree assault; (19) first, second, or third degree assault of a child; (20) first, second, or third degree rape; (21) first, second, or third degree rape of a child; (22) first or second degree robbery; (23) first degree arson; (24) first degree burglary; (25) first or second degree manslaughter; (26) first or second degree extortion; (27) indecent liberties; (28) incest; (29) vehicular homicide; (30) first degree promoting prostitution; (31) communication with a minor; (32) unlawful imprisonment; (33); sexual exploitation of minors; (34) first or second degree criminal mistreatment; (35) endangerment with a controlled substance; (36) child abuse or neglect as defined in RCW 26.44.020; (37) first or second degree custodial interference; (38) first or second degree custodial sexual misconduct; (39) malicious harassment; (40) first, second, or third degree child molestation; (41) first or second degree sexual misconduct with a minor; (42) commercial sexual abuse of a minor; (43) child abandonment; (44) promoting pornography; (45) selling or distributing erotic material to a minor; (46) custodial assault; (47) violation of child abuse restraining order; (48) child buying or selling; (49) felony prostitution; (50) felony indecent exposure; (51) criminal abandonment; (52) felony DUI | Physical control of a vehicle under the influence, or any of these crimes as they may be renamed in the future.
  1. You cannot have any crimes pending or have committed a new crime after you were discharged from the crime you are asking to have vacated | removed.
  1. It must be 10 years since you were discharged, or should have been discharged for a Class B felony.
  1. It must be 5 years since you were discharged, or should have been discharged for a Class C felony.

Why discharge | vacate a felony?

As criminal defense lawyers, we can say the best reason is in the statute: “Once the court vacates a record of conviction under subsection (1) of this section, the fact that the offender has been convicted of the offense shall not be included in the offender’s criminal history for purposes of determining a sentence in any subsequent conviction, and the offender shall be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense. For all purposes, including responding to questions on employment applications, an offender whose conviction has been vacated may state that the offender has never been convicted of that crime. Nothing in this section affects or prevents the use of an offender’s prior conviction in a later criminal prosecution.” RCW 9.94A.640

Our office will take phone appointments for questions about vacating | expunging | removing criminal records.   If you meet the above criteria, we will go can pull a complete set of your records off of Judicial Information Systems to confirm all is in order for $50.00 and email you a copy. Quotes for the motion and order to vacate | expunge | remove your criminal conviction vary with courts, prosecutors’ offices and drive times. You must file the motion in the Superior Court you were convicted in.

Over the course of lengthy legal careers, our criminal defense lawyers | attorneys have handled a wide variety of complicated cases in the criminal and administrative legal arenas. Our office is a unique blend of courtroom experience, knowledge, skills and temperament. Our lawyers know cases are rarely as simple as the police reports or accusations claim. Our clients hire us because they want trained listeners who are staunch, uncompromising and effective at what they do.  They want counsel who takes the time to listen and fight vigorously for a result. Whether acting in our role as counsel, advocate, negotiator or litigator, we have years of experience manipulating, working and fighting to resolve cases with our clients’ best interests in mind.

Robert Rhodes

With a successful background in law, courtrooms, wrestling, rugby and jujitsu, Robert Rhodes’s nature is well-suited for argument and litigation. Mr. Rhodes knows how to talk clearly and directly to his clients, adversaries and to the Court. His common sense, straight talk and experience put his clients immediately at ease. Mr. Rhodes does not do anything half way and you will sense this when you meet him. Read more >>