In Washington, you can expunge (i.e. delete or remove) non-conviction criminal history records.
Under RCW 10.97.060, non-conviction records mean any records relating to an incident that did not lead to a “conviction or other disposition adverse to the subject.”
In practice, non-conviction records refer to one of three types of cases:
- Police investigated you but charges were never filed
- The State filed criminal charges but ultimately dismissed the case
- A jury or judge found you not guilty after trial
What are conviction records?
If you are convicted after trial or you plead guilty before trial, you cannot expunge these records because they do not qualify as non-conviction records.
The following examples also do not qualify as non-conviction records
- You plead guilty and are placed on probation even if your case is ultimately dismissed because you successfully complete probation (i.e. a deferred sentence and some types of diversion agreements)
- A jury finds you not guilty by reason of insanity
- A judge finds you not competent to stand trial and dismisses your case
Can I expunge my court records in Washington?
You cannot expunge your court records in Washington
Court records are different than criminal history records. Criminal history records are on file with the Washington State Patrol and local police departments.
By contrast, "court records" are on physically on file with the clerk's office and electronically available through the Judicial Information System.
Instead of expungement, you can file a motion to seal your court records, which prevents the public from inspecting or accessing them.
For the same reason, you also cannot expunge Department of Licensing or other administrative records because they are not within the custody of control of WSP.
Can I expunge my criminal convictions in Washington?
No. Washington law does not allow you to remove any record of conviction in Washington, regardless of whether it is a felony, gross misdemeanor, or misdemeanor.
Instead of expungement, you can file a motion to vacate your criminal conviction, which does have the effect of removing your conviction from state and federal background checks.