Vacating a Conviction

November 26th, 2011 at 19:07

Sometimes our indiscretions can follow us long into adulthood.  Good people sometimes make mistakes, and most of us learn from those mistakes and never make them again.

However, sometimes our past indiscretions can come back to haunt us.  Whether it is an employment application, housing application, or review for a military promotion; the presence of a misdemeanor conviction on your record could put you at a disadvantage when compared to someone with a “clean” record.

If you are an individual that has received a misdemeanor in your past and you have no subsequent criminal convictions, then you may qualify to have your conviction vacated.

If you have plead guilty to a misdemeanor, “vacated” means that the court will reopen your case and then dismiss the charge.  If you were found guilty of a negligent driving or a reckless driving, the court will set aside the conviction, dismiss your case, and vacate the judgment against you.  Not all misdemeanors qualify for this program.  For example, some convictions relating to domestic violence do not qualify.  A Washington State DUI conviction also does not qualify, however, if your DUI was reduced to either a reckless driving or negligent driving conviction, you may qualify to have this conviction vacated.

There are many qualifications to be eligible to have your conviction vacated (found in RCW 9.96.060).  The first hurdle is time.  Has it been 3 or 5 years (depending on the conviction) since you satisfied all court ordered requirements, including finishing treatment and paying off any fees or fines?  Secondly, during this time period have you had any other charges brought against you?

If you meet all the qualifications to have your conviction vacated, you can petition the court to have this done.  If successful, the conviction will be vacated from your record and you can legally say that you have no conviction for the vacated charge.  You will no longer need to disclose the conviction on applications and if anyone does a background check, the conviction will no longer appear on your record.   You will truly have a fresh start.

Do have a previous conviction that may qualify to be vacated from your record?  Do you have questions about DUI regulations in the State of Washington and you need the help of a top Seattle DUI lawyer?  Please don’t hesitate to call my office at (425) 422-5818.  Mark W. Garka – Attorney in the Greater Puget Sound Area

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