A new unit helps people vacate past criminal records
A criminal record can hinder your ability to get a job, secure housing, obtain benefits, and more. But under Washington law, some felony and misdemeanor convictions can be vacated from your record. That means you can legally state on job applications, housing applications, and other forms that you’ve never been convicted of a crime.
DPD provides legal assistance to people with criminal convictions who would like to get those convictions vacated. This assistance is free if you qualify.
Call Joey Feng at 206-263-3658 to get started.
How it works
- Start with an intake interview. Call Joey Feng at 206-263-3658 who will take down your information and guide you forward in the process.
- Screen for financial eligibility. Over the telephone, you can get screened to determine if you’re financially eligible to receive assistance from a public defender.
- Get assigned to a lawyer. If you’re financially eligible, you will be assigned an attorney who will meet with you to discuss your situation.
- File the petition with the court. Once a petition for criminal vacation is filed, it usually takes about eight weeks for the court to approve vacation orders.
Members of DPD's post-conviction unit at a community event.
Not all misdemeanor or felony convictions can be vacated, and certain conditions have to be met.
Here’s a partial list of some of the requirements for vacating misdemeanor convictions:
- No pending charges.
- Three years since the completion of all terms of the sentence, including payment of financial obligations.
- No new convictions in the three years prior to application.
- Not a violent offense or attempt to commit a violent offense (RCW 9.94A.030)
- Not a DUI or Physical Control conviction.
- Not a conviction of obscenity or pornography laws (RCW 9.68), sexual exploitation of children (RCW 9.68A) or a sex offense (RCW 9A.44).
- Not currently restrained by a domestic violence protection order, a no-contact order, an anti-harassment order, or a civil restraining order; or a violation of such an order in the five years prior to application
- “Prior offenses” (RCW 46.61.5055, e.g.: DUI amended down to another charge), domestic violence offenses, and prostitution offenses have additional, specific requirements
Here’s a partial list of some of the requirements for vacating felony convictions:
- No pending charges.
- Not a Class A felony
- Not an offense with a firearm, deadly weapon, or sexual motivation enhancement:
- Not DUI or Physical Control conviction.
- For Class B felonies:
- No convictions for 10 years prior to application
- 10 years have passed since the later of: release from community custody, release from confinement, sentencing date
- For Class C felonies:
- No convictions for 5 years prior to application
- 5 years have passed since the later of: release from community custody, release from confinement, sentencing date
DPD attorneys can also help you get your record expunged, which means removing arrests and dismissed charges from criminal background reports.
Sealing of juvenile records
DPD can also help you address issues from juvenile court. We can ask the court to seal your record or get your name off the sex offense registry for juvenile offenses.