Vacation of misdemeanor conviction in Washington State allows people who were convicted of a misdemeanor (minor crime) to remove it from their criminal records after a certain amount of time has passed. If you were convicted of a misdemeanor in Washington State at least 3 years ago, you may qualify for a vacation of the misdemeanor. This means you will not have to list it on job, housing, and other important applications.

Who can request a vacation of misdemeanor conviction?

You can request a vacation of misdemeanor conviction if the following is true:

  • The conviction was not a "serious violent crime" or an attempt to commit one (defined by state law in RCW 9.94A.030(50)).
  • The conviction was not a sex offense, obscenity and/or pornography offense, or a sexual exploitation offense.
  • The conviction was not for any of the following offenses: DUI, physical control of a vehicle while under the influence, or operation of railroad equipment while under the influence.
  • You have not been convicted of a new crime since the date of discharge (the date the court provided a Certificate of Discharge).
  • If you were convicted of domestic violence, at least 5 years have passed since all terms of the sentencing court have been completed. This includes payment of any fines or court fees and successful completion of any treatment ordered as a condition of sentencing.
  • If you were convicted of a non-domestic violence-related misdemeanor, at least 3 years have passed since all terms of the sentencing court have been completed. This includes payment of any financial obligations and successful completion of any treatment ordered as a condition of sentencing.

How to request a vacation of misdemeanor conviction

First, collect all the documents required to apply for a misdemeanor conviction. You will need the following:

  • A criminal background check from Washington State Patrol
  • The Judgment and Sentence for the conviction

Next, create, or hire a lawyer to create, all the documents the court will need to consider your request. This includes the following:

  • A Motion to Vacate the Conviction (a form requesting the vacation)
  • A Declaration of Support of the Motion to Vacate
  • An Order Vacating the Conviction

Finally, schedule a hearing date at the court that originally sentenced you for the misdemeanor, and notify the prosecuting attorney who was involved in your case. This process varies from court to court, so it's best to contact the court clerk and ask about the rules for scheduling a hearing and notifying the prosecuting attorney.

After all of this has been done, the court will determine whether to accept your request and clear your record of the misdemeanor.

What it may cost

Courts do not charge for the vacation of misdemeanor conviction process. If you hire an attorney, you will be charged for his or her services. Attorneys' fees depend on their experience and area of expertise.

Additional resources:

Washington State Legislature: Evidentiary sufficiency

Washington State Legislature: Definitions

Vacation of offender's record of conviction

Related Legal Guides:

Vacation of Felony Conviction in Washington State

Expungement in Washington State

Criminal Rights