Expunging or Vacating a Prior Conviction

Posted Tuesday, April 19, 2011 by Ed Harper

In Washington, you can have your driving record expunged or vacated for certain criminal traffic violations. These are for misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor offenses. These include reckless driving, hit and run, and negligent driving 1st degree. However, other crimes such as DUI – RCW 46.61.502 and Actual Physical Control while under the influence – RCW 46.61.504 cannot be vacated. You may want to consult with a lawyer, and retain an attorney to bring the necessary paperwork before a judge. As you mentioned, your driving record contains these violations and this is costing you your livelihood.

The judge maintains discretion or retains a choice in whether to vacate or expunge your record. This is not as simple as it sounds to convince the judge to completely eradicate a former charge. The prior convictions would have a bearing on subsequent increased penalties. Thus, it may pay off to have an attorney represent you to bring a motion before the court.

The Motion would be for an Order Vacating Conviction. This is based on RCW 9.96.060.

There are conditions which must be met. These include but are not limited to the crime to be vacated:
1. Does not involve domestic violence and it has been at least three years; or if the offense is for domestic violence, the terms have been complied with under RCW 9.96.060(2)(e);
2. No other convictions since convicted of the matter before the court;
3. No other records of another conviction vacated;
4. There are no current, or within the last 5 years, domestic violence protection orders, a no contact order, an anti-harassment protection order, or a civil restraining order which restrains one party from contacting the other party.

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