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Vacating a Criminal Conviction

How to: Get a conviction off your record.

It can be difficult and sometimes impossible to overcome the negative stigma and social disabilities caused by a criminal conviction. In an age of information and the Internet, it’s now very easy to find information about private citizens and even harder to avoid having people find out things about you which you may not want publicly known. As people with criminal convictions know, this can be especially true when applying for jobs, housing, educational opportunities, or even seeking credit.

Having a criminal conviction on your record need not be a permanent fact of life. Given the ease of access the general public has to data and information about peoples’ criminal records, it’s nice to know that there is now a way for people who have criminal convictions to legally and permanently wipe those convictions from their record. Washington State law now allows individuals who have been convicted of most kinds of misdemeanors and some kinds of felonies to petition the court for the withdraw of their previous guilty pleas and to have their convictions reversed and dismissed.

Called a Criminal Vacation Action, Lustick, Kaiman & Madrone attorney Adrian Madrone regularly handles these kinds of actions, and has helped many people clear their criminal records. Vacating your criminal history allows you to legally, ethically, and morally state on job applications and elsewhere that you have never been convicted of a crime. It also removes your criminal records from public view in Washington State databases.

Not all kinds of convictions can be vacated, and most require certain circumstances to be met before a vacation may be granted. Some conditions under which a felony conviction cannot be vacated include:

  • If the crime is a class A felony, a crime against a person, or was a violent offense.
  • The person seeking a vacation cannot have any new criminal convictions.
  • The person cannot have criminal charges pending in any municipal, state or federal court.
  • The person cannot have any unpaid fines, fees, or court ordered restitution.

Also, candidates for criminal vacations must also meet these requirements:

The person has served all the community service hours and paid all restitution required by the court.

  • If seeking a felony vacation and was on DOC Supervision, the person must obtain a certificate of discharge from DOC.
  • The requisite number of years has passed since the issuance of the certificate of discharge (10 years for a Class B felony and 5 years for a Class C felony) or three years have elapsed after completing all of their misdemeanor sentence, including probation time.
  • Clients seeking a vacation of their past criminal convictions need not be local. We are able to work with clients remotely over the telephone, on e-mail, or through the mail, as long as their conviction was in one of the courts located in our coverage area (Whatcom, Skagit, Island, San Juan, and
  • Snohomish Counties.) It is also usually unnecessary for our vacation clients to attend any court dates in securing a vacation of criminal offenses, as Adrian Madrone attends all court sessions and handles the entire process without you ever needing to appear.

Restoration of Voting Rights / Restoration of Firearm Rights

We can also assist you in petitioning the court to restore gun rights and voting rights. Restoration of these rights is a separate action and does not happen as a result of the vacation action.

Contact us to find out if you qualify.

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