Sealing Criminal Records

Seal Your Records in Washington State

Sealing an adult criminal record is a very different procedure than sealing a juvenile one. There are, however, some steps you can take that will encourage the court to seal your criminal record.

Sealing your criminal record prevents anyone from accessing the court records regarding your case. This can be helpful for employment applications and apartment rental applications among many other things. Sealing a criminal record in Washington State can also help you move on from the past and take control of your life.

Sealing records in Washington State is a very different procedure than sealing juvenile records. There are no waiting periods that must be met before a court may seal an adult criminal record, instead the court is supposed to employ a balancing test to determine if the hardship that the record is causing you is sufficient to outweigh society’s interest in having access to that record. This decision is 100% at the discretion of the court, and many courts are hesitant about sealing a criminal record. There are, however, some steps you can take that will encourage the court to seal your criminal record.

Vacating Your Conviction

If possible, before attempting to seal your criminal record, you should vacate or “expunge” criminal records of any prior convictions.

State and federal law assume that, if you have a past conviction, this is important information the public has an interest in knowing. By vacating your conviction, you effectively wipe the slate clean which helps tilt the balance in your favor when you ask the court to seal your criminal record.

Findley & Rogers can help you expunge criminal records of any adult or juvenile convictions.

Gathering Evidence to Make Your Case

When you ask the court to seal a criminal record, the judge will want to see evidence that your record is causing you hardships. It is not usually enough to claim hardship; you must also provide evidence establishing your hardship.

This means you should collect evidence or ask an expungement attorney to help you start the process. If you were rejected for a rental, passed over for a job or a promotion, denied custody rights, etc., you should ask for written statements saying that you lost out on these opportunities because of your criminal convictions.

Firearm Rights

Sealing a criminal record won’t restore firearm rights lost as part of your conviction. You’ll need to file a separate motion for that which our experienced gun rights lawyers can also help you with.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sealing Adult Records in Washington State

Let Findley & Rogers Help

Courts are generally reluctant to seal or expunge criminal records, so you must make a strong case. At Findley & Rogers, our experienced lawyers can help you with making that case and sealing your records in Washington State.

Contact us today and let us help you regain control over your life.


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