This guide explains eligibility requirements to vacating a felony in Washington state.
The governing law in Washington on vacating felonies is RCW 9.94A.640. That statute lists all of the requirements you must meet before you are eligible to vacate a felony. The major requirements are set out below.
Felonies that cannot be vacated
Certain felonies can never be vacated. Those are: felony DUI or physical control; any class A felony; any violent offense as defined by RCW 9.94A.030; and any crime against persons as defined by RCW 43.43.830. However, assault 2, assault 3, and robbery 2 can be vacated so long as they did not come with a firearm, deadly weapon, or sexual motivation enhancement and assault 3 also cannot be against a police officer.
The general requirements to vacate a felony are: you are not currently charged with any crime in any court and you have received a certificate of discharge. In order to receive a certificate of discharge, you must complete all conditions of your sentence, including fines. However, interest accrued on nonrestitution fines can be waived. The certificate of discharge and the vacate can be done at the same time.
Class C felonies may be vacated five years after you were last released from DOC supervision, total and partial confinement, or from when you were sentenced, whichever occurred last. Class B felonies require a ten year waiting period instead of a five year waiting period.
Additionally, you also cannot have convictions of any kind anywhere in the five years preceding your motion to vacate (class C felonies) or ten years preceding your motion to vacate (class B felonies). But, if you do have convictions in the last five or ten years, those may be vacated first and then the felony(ies) become vacatable.
Effect of vacation
When your conviction is vacated, you're legally allowed to state that you've never been convicted and you're legally allowed to answer "no" on job and housing applications if asked if you've ever been convicted. Vacating the conviction removes the conviction from your official criminal history with the Washington State Patrol.
Seek professional help
This is a very general overview. In all cases, you should seek advice from an experienced attorney for an individualized analysis of your options.
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