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Can I vacate my DUI conviction in Washington?

In Washington, you cannot vacate any crime for driving under the influence of alcohol or driving under the influence of drugs (DUI). 

You also cannot vacate the crime of “physical control” of a motor vehicle under the influence, a similar type of crime.  Unlike DUI, you can be convicted of physical control even if you weren't driving the vehicle. 

I was charged with DUI but I pleaded guilty to a reduced charge?  Can I vacate my conviction?

Maybe. 

Sometimes the prosecutor will reduce your DUI to a lesser crime such as reckless driving or negligent driving in the first degree.  This typically happens if you have a good record and don't have any prior DUI or other alcohol-related crimes. 

If you are convicted of a non-DUI charge—even if you were originally charged with DUI—you can vacate your conviction, but only under the following circumstances:

  • Ten (10) years have passed since you were arrested for DUI
  • You have not had a new “alcohol or drug violation” within the past 10 years

Keep in mind that, under the the state's DUI statute, an “alcohol or drug violation” does not necessarily mean a new DUI or even a new crime.  

An "alcohol or drug violation," for example, could be a drug offense (i.e. possession of drug paraphernalia) or a non-criminal alcohol infraction such as having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle while driving on a highway.

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