Expungement –Benefits of Clearing Your Criminal Record in Washington State
Expungement of a criminal conviction offers benefits. Learn about 5 benefits for clearing your criminal record in this article.
In Washington State, a criminal conviction can be expunged if you meet the criteria.
Expungement of criminal records is often misunderstood, because there is a lot of misinformation about expungements and what benefits an expungement provides. In Washington State, expungement of a criminal record or criminal conviction is called Vacating the Criminal Conviction. Expungement is the common lay term people are familiar with, while Vacating is the legal name.
People sometimes forget about an old criminal conviction, particularly a minor conviction, until they go after a promotion or try to buy a firearm. And that old criminal conviction pops up. Having a criminal conviction expunged provides benefits beyond merely clearing your record. Following are the five most common benefits of an expungement in Washington State.
After your criminal conviction is expunged, Washington state law permits you to state you have not been convicted for employment purposes. The conviction is removed from the official state criminal history record, and a criminal history check indicates you do not have a criminal conviction. The expungement vacates the criminal conviction, making it easier to apply for a new job or gain a promotion in your existing job.
2. Erase an Unpleasant Past
Many people with a criminal conviction on their record, especially a minor conviction, obtained the conviction as a result of poor judgment many years in the past. They are no longer the same person, but are being disadvantaged as though they were because the conviction is still following them. Clearing a criminal record helps wipe the slate clean.
3. Renting an Apartment or Qualifying for a Home Loan
Expungement does not directly affect these, but it can help. Clearing your criminal record makes it easier to pass a background check. With background checks increasingly common, particularly for renting an apartment, expunging a criminal conviction makes for one less hurdle and less stress.
4. Own a Firearm
In Washington State, one of the criteria for restoring your right to possess a firearm (for some crimes) is whether the criminal conviction that caused suspension of the firearm right has been vacated. Having the conviction expunged allows you to restore your firearm rights and purchase or possess a firearm. This can be a big benefit for hunters.
5. Getting a professional or other license for employment.
Washington State law permits you to state you have not been convicted for employment purposes. However, you might still be required to disclose a criminal conviction, even if expunged, for certain types of licensing requirements. Having the criminal conviction expunged closes the book on it and demonstrates you fully complied with all requirements. Clearing your criminal record also shows you exercised responsibility in taking all legal steps available regarding your conviction.
A criminal conviction can be expunged in a few short weeks in Washington State. Expungement offers a variety of benefits, including clearing your criminal record and removing an unfavorable past. If you have a criminal conviction, then you should take advantage of the legal rights available to you.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Douglas Stratemeyer has been a lawyer since 1992, and is a former part-time judge, who helps people expunge Washington State criminal convictions, clear criminal records, expunge juvenile criminal records, and restore firearm possession rights. Read more about him and how to clear your criminal record at his website http://www.StratemeyerLaw.com.
Copyright ©2008 Douglas Stratemeyer. All Rights reserved.