Criminal Records Create a Second-Class Citizenry: Changing the Way Adult Convictions are Vacated in Washington State
Seattle University School of Law
March 28, 2013
Seattle Journal for Social Justice, Forthcoming
This article principally focuses on the ability of a convicted person to remove or “vacate” his adult criminal records from non-Court entities in Washington State. Ultimately, Washington should remove the limit currently prohibiting a record holder from vacating more than one misdemeanor in his or her lifetime. A convicted person in Washington State is theoretically allowed to vacate an unlimited number of felonies in his or her lifetime. In contrast, he or she may not vacate a misdemeanor if any other conviction, misdemeanor or felony, has been vacated in his or her lifetime. I will posit that, for the purposes of vacating criminal records in Washington, at minimum, misdemeanors should generally be treated the same as felonies by allowing a convicted person to theoretically be able to vacate an unlimited number of misdemeanors. Employment, housing, and public safety factors, among others, tend to favor this prescription.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 50
Keywords: vacate, expunge, seal, Washington, criminal records, collateral consequences
Date posted: October 22, 2013