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What happens when my conviction is vacated in Washington?

Here are the primary benefits of vacating your conviction in Washington:

  • A "vacated" conviction is officially removed from your Washington court record
  • A vacated conviction does not appear on a FBI or a Washington State Patrol (WSP) background check.  
  • You do not have to disclose a vacated conviction on an employment or housing application
  • Once the court vacates your conviction, all of your court records associated with your court case become non-conviction records, which means they are subject to expungement and deletion in 2 years.  

Is a vacated conviction "vacated" for immigration purposes?

Not necessarily.

A criminal conviction for immigration purposes is only erased if your conviction was vacated for some sort of legal defect in the conviction (i.e. the judge made a legal error or your defense attorney was deficient).

But if your conviction was vacated for some other reason (i.e. the passage of time), then the conviction will probably not help you for immigration purposes.   

Can private employers in Washington still ask me about my past arrests even if my conviction has been vacated?

The Washington State Law Against Discrimination prohibits private employers with 8 or more employees from discriminating against potential employees based on race and national origin, among other factors.

The Washington Human Rights Commission (WHRC), the agency that enforces this law, has recognized that a policy of automatically excluding potential employees with a criminal record can qualify as unlawful discrimination.

  • Therefore, to avoid discrimination, the WHRC recommends that employers who ask about prior arrests consider the following:
  • Are the charges still pending
  • Have the charges been dismissed
  • Have the charges resulted in a conviction that would adversely affect the potential employee's job performance
  • Finally, employers may only consider arrests that have occurred in the past 10 years

Case Review

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