Saturday, May 3, 2014

Put Those Pesky Past Convictions Behind You

Do not let pesky old convictions hang over your head. If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor or a class B/C felony, you may qualify in the State of Washington to have your conviction vacated. If you are having trouble finding a new place to live or a better job, vacating old charges can make your life easier, and brighter. Vacating a record grants you the legal fiction that a past crime never happened. You can confidently say no, you never committed that specific crime to prospective work places and land lords.  There are restrictions on the types of crimes which have been vacated, and a few conditions which may disqualify you.
For example, violent or sexual convictions may not be vacated. DUIs are also stuck with you forever[1].  You cannot vacate operating a railroad while intoxicated, in the unlikely event you operated a railway train while drunk. But, if you have not convicted a new crime in any state, have never had another conviction vacated, and never had a restraining order, your misdemeanor or class b/c felony might be eligible to be cleared. 

If you have a misdemeanor you are looking to forget and move on from, you need only have completed all required prison, probation, etc. for the crime and not have been in trouble since. Give Legal State of Mind a call and we will begin filing your motions and serving the prosecuting attorney. After that, we will have to go to the hearing and ask the Judge to sign the order vacating the conviction. The Judge will sign it, and the clerk will send a copy to the law enforcement agencies where you have a criminal history. Getting an attorney early on so all the forms are properly filled out, filed, and served is very important to the success of your motion. This is the rest of your life; you want the details to be perfect. 

For people looking to vacate a class B or C felony, it may be a touch more difficult. When seeking to have your class B felony cleared, you need to wait ten years, not have any current criminal charges, or be convicted of new crimes. Violent offenses cannot be vacated, nor crimes against other people. If you have a class C felony, you need only wait five years instead of ten before filing motions to have your conviction vacated. As with misdemeanors, call Legal State of Mind to begin working on your motions as soon as possible. 

If your charge is successfully vacated, you may then petition to have your firearm rights restored. Past convictions can often feel like a sign taped to your forehead saying “criminal.” Avoid this feeling! Finding a better job, a better place to live, going across the border to Canada can all be made infinitely easier. Don’t let your past mistakes weigh you down forever. 

Taylor Waters, Legal Assistant at Legal State of Mind

[1] Which is why getting a competent attorney as soon as you are charged with a DUI is extremely important.

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