In Washington, you must meet the following four requirements to be able to vacate your felony conviction: (These requirements can be found in RCW 9.94A.640)
1. You committed the offense on or after July 1, 1984
For most people, this is the easiest hurdle to overcome. Of course, just be aware that it is a condition for vacating your felony.
2. There are no pending criminal charges against you
You cannot have any pending charges against you in any jurisdiction. This obviously means in Washington, but it also includes any other state, federal, or tribal court.
Traffic infractions and civil lawsuits are not included. Say, for example, that you've been cited for speeding and you have a court date scheduled next month. Or you're facing a landlord-tenant dispute. Or you've been served with a protection order. None of these will prevent from filing a motion to vacate your felony conviction.
3. You were not convicted of a Class A felony or certain violent Class B or Class C felonies
Under Washington law, you can only vacate non-violent Class B or Class C felonies.
Class B felonies are punishable up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. Class C felonies carry a maximum of 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Class A felonies carry a maximum possible penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Here is a list of the felonies in Washington that cannot be vacated.
4. You have not committed any crimes for at least 5 years
In Washington, you must have spent at least five (5) crime-free years in the community before you are eligible to vacate your felony conviction.
In legal terms, you must not have been convicted of any crimes during the mandatory "waiting period." The length of this waiting period depends on your type of felony:
Class C felony: 5 YEARS
In Washington, 5 years must have passed since you were (1) sentenced or (2) released from custody or (3) released from community custody (whichever is later)
Class B felony: 10 YEARS
In Washington, 10 years must have passed since you were (1) sentenced or (2) released from custody or (3) released from community custody (whichever is later)
Example #1: You pleaded guilty to robbery in the second degree (a Class B felony) and were sentenced in 2015. You were released from prison in January 2017 and were not sentenced to community custody. You can file a motion to vacate your robbery conviction in January 2027, assuming you meet the other requirements.
Example #2: You pleaded guilty to assault in the third degree (a Class C felony) and were sentenced in 2015. You were released from prison in 2017 and were placed on community custody, which you completed in January 2019. You can file a motion to vacate your assault conviction in January 2024, assuming you meet the other requirements.