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For a first degree misdemeanor; theft 3rd degree - if you pleaded guilty. Paid the fine. It doesn't go on record?

Renton, WA |

My lawyer suggested I plead guilty, because I have no record; it was my first offense, that I would come out with nothing on my record. All I had to do was pay the fines. Now I am unemployed, businesses are calling me to schedule an interview, they're stating that I have the theft on my record and I am not desirable to hire. I need immediate help. There's a huge story regarding medical issues and new drugs at the time of my theft. I had no intent of stealing, but I went with what my lawyer said...
Can someone please point me in the right direction?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Unfortunately, whenever you plead guilty to a criminal offense and are sentenced, it will be reported as a conviction and becomes part of your criminal history. I don't know why your attorney told you otherwise. Depending on some facts with your case, you could have a remedy, for example requesting a court allow you to withdraw your guilty plea or set aside your sentence, or some other action. When did you enter a plea and when were you sentenced? Did you have a copy of the plea form? You should contact an experienced and competent criminal defense attorney immediately. Here to help.


  2. You should check your criminal history on WATCH (https://fortress.wa.gov/wsp/watch/) to see what your potential employers are seeing.

    Otherwise, some misdemeanors may be vacated from your record if you satisfy the WA statute (find it here: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9.96.060 ). Vacated means the court will nullify the plea of guilty, allow the defendant to enter a plea of not guilty and then dismiss the conviction. At that point, the person may say for all purposes that they have never been convicted, including on employment applications.

    Generally, the statute allows a misdemeanor to be vacated if:

    (1) The applicant has no pending or new criminal charges, has never had a conviction vacated before, and does not have a current restraining, protection or no-contact order against them.

    --and--

    (2) The offense was not a violent offense, D.U.I., or sex offense and three (five years if domestic violence) or more years have passed since the person completed the terms of the original conditions of the sentence, including any financial obligations.

    If you are eligible, you can hire an attorney to vacate your conviction, so, going forward, you will have no issues with potential employers.


  3. You should contact your original attorney to see if they can straighten out the misunderstanding. If you plead guilty and received a deferred sentence, it is possible you can withdraw your plea and have the matter dismissed at the end of a set period of time assuming you comply with the conditions put in place. If you plead guilty and received a suspended sentence, it is likely you will have to wait and petition the court for vacation of your conviction, which requires a lengthy waiting period. You could pursue a motion to withdraw your guilty plea even with a plea and suspended sentence, but the hurdles you'd have to jump over to achieve that are rather high. Again, contacting your original attorney should assist in clarifying things and getting a better idea of what your options are. If you are not satisfied with the response from your original attorney, or if you cannot get in touch with them, a local attorney should be willing to provide a brief consultation to look into your prior conviction a bit further and provide you with your options.

    Jeff Holmes - Attorney at Law - www.vancouverdefense.com - 360.975.9288. Disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice. This information is based on general principles of law, as well as my general experience that may or may not relate to your specific situation. This information is not meant to take the place of actually consulting an Attorney in your jurisdiction. If you would like legal advice, I would recommend consulting an attorney in your locale.

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