Restoration of Rights and Vacation of Criminal Records

Restoration of Rights and Vacation of Criminal RecordsCan you clear a criminal record in Washington state? How can your rights be restored after a felony conviction?

The laws and language regarding criminal conviction in Washington state can be difficult to understand. For instance, attorneys often say “vacation of criminal records” rather than “clearing a criminal record.”

No matter what you call it, dealing with a criminal past isn’t easy. Laws and practices regarding vacating a conviction differ depending on the type of offense.

People convicted of certain crimes lose the right to vote and the right to a firearm. A criminal record limits the jobs you can get and makes it harder to rent a home.

The criminal defense lawyers of Northwest Legal Advocates will explain your options regarding a restoration of rights and vacation of criminal records. In some instances, the court will vacate a conviction in Washington state.

Contact our office in Vancouver, Washington for help with your criminal case.

What Is a Vacation of Criminal Records in Washington State?

In Washington state, you can request the vacation of a criminal conviction. With the help of a lawyer, you’ll ask the court to remove the conviction and dismiss the charge.

Not everyone convicted of a misdemeanor or felony is eligible for a vacation. You must meet the requirements, including the passing of a set number of years. You must also have a clean record, with no additional criminal offenses. Some guilty findings are not eligible for vacation.

How Are Criminal Records Vacated?

A judge will decide whether to grant your request. Even if you meet all the requirements, it is up to a judge to decide your case.

The attorneys of Northwest Legal Advocates will help you prepare your request, giving you the best possible chance for success. Our criminal defense lawyers have years of experience working in Washington’s criminal justice system, representing clients in court, at hearings and before judges.

Is a Criminal Record Removed After a Vacation?

If your request is successful, you will no longer have a conviction on your files. However, all the proceedings will remain on file including your conviction and its dismissal. In rare cases, the court seals criminal records. Sealing a record is a separate process from vacating a criminal record. Also, there are state departments that don’t recognize a vacation of criminal convictions.

How Are Restoration of Rights Handled?

Convicted felons in Washington state can’t vote while they are in prison or community custody. Once they complete their sentence, they can register to vote.

Restoration of the right to a firearm is more involved. If the court convicts you of a felony or a domestic violence offense, you lose the right to possess a gun. You can request a restoration of your rights to a firearm. Eligibility depends on the type of crime of which you were convicted.  Also, a set number of years must have passed since the offense, and you must not have pending criminal charges.

Call on Experienced Vancouver, WA Criminal Defense Lawyers

We understand that people make mistakes. We also know that people change. If you need legal assistance to restore your right to a firearm or for a vacation of criminal records, contact Northwest Legal Advocates today.