Tacoma Expungement Attorneys
Restoring Rights in Western Washington
A criminal conviction can result in the denial of significant rights, including the right to vote and own a firearm. In addition, a conviction often carries significant collateral consequences, such as the loss of a job or job prospect, the denial of a security clearance, the inability to obtain credit, or rent a home or apartment.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be stuck with a criminal conviction on your record forever. If you meet certain criteria, your conviction may be expunged or vacated. The Tacoma criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Krupa & Clark have significant experience in helping people clear their criminal records in Tacoma, Pierce County, and the surrounding area. We will handle the expungement or vacation process from beginning to end and even ensure that the Washington State Patrol and FBI records are updated to reflect that a conviction has been vacated or expunged.
Note that we cannot vacate or expunge non-Washington convictions. In addition, there is no equivalent process for the expungement or vacation of federal criminal convictions. Please call us at (253) 345-4506 or click here to contact us for information on how we can help.
Vacating a Conviction
Washington State law allows people who have been convicted of most misdemeanors and some felony offenses to petition a court for withdraw of a previous guilty plea and to have their conviction reversed and dismissed. This process is commonly known as expungement but is more correctly referred to as vacation.
The first requirement necessary to expunge a conviction in Washington is the passage of the required time period. For a non-domestic violence related misdemeanor, a person must wait for three years since the date on which the case is closed. If the misdemeanor was a crime of domestic violence, five years must have elapsed since the successful close of a case. For a felony conviction, the time period begins to run on the date the court issues a Certificate of Discharge. A person must wait for 10 years following the issuance of the Certificate of Discharge for a Class B felony and 5 years for a Class C felony.
In addition, a person must generally maintain law-abiding behavior after the conviction to be eligible for expungement. In other words, the person seeking a vacation cannot have new criminal convictions. In addition, the person cannot have any new criminal charges pending in any municipal, state, or federal court. The person also cannot have new charges pending in the courts of any other state. Finally, the person cannot have any unpaid fines, fees, or court-ordered restitution.
Certain convictions are not eligible for expungement. For example, Class A felonies, sex crimes, and violent crimes cannot be expunged. Among misdemeanors, Washington State does not allow DUI or physical control convictions to be expunged. Any expungement or vacation requires a judge to sign a court order. Most courts in Washington require a hearing to expunge or vacate a criminal conviction.
Restoration of Rights
A related process that we handle is the restoration of rights to own or possess firearms. In Washington, any felony or domestic violence conviction renders one ineligible to possess a firearm. To be eligible to restore your right to possess a firearm, you cannot have criminal charges pending against you in any state, municipal, or federal court.
For Class B or C felony convictions, one must wait five years without being convicted of any new charges. If you were convicted of a misdemeanor which suspended your firearm rights, then three years must pass before you are eligible to have your gun rights restored.
The Tacoma criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Krupa & Clark have helped many people restore their firearm rights in Pierce, Kitsap, King, and Thurston Counties and throughout Western Washington.
Please click here or give us a call at (253) 345-4506 if you have been convicted of a crime which made you ineligible to own a firearm to see if you are eligible to have your gun ownership rights restored.