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Programs and Services

Vacating a Misdemeanor Record

Vacating a Record

What does 'vacating a record' mean?
Vacating a conviction for a misdemeanor crime means the Court determines you meet certain conditions and orders. If you pled guilty to a crime, your plea will be changed to not guilty and then the charges are dismissed. If you were found guilty, the court may set aside the conviction, dismiss the case and vacate the judgment and sentence. If your record is vacated, your name, the case number, the charge, a "V" for vacated, and, "DV" if the file was related to domestic violence may still show up on the Court's information system.

Vacating a record does not remove information from the Court's electronic record keeping system. The record will remain, and it will be available to the public. The record will be updated to contain additional information about the vacation of the record.

If you were arrested and fingerprinted that record may still be maintained by the arresting agency, the Washington State Patrol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Questions regarding arrest records should be forwarded to the arresting agency or the Washington State Patrol.

Under most circumstances, you are allowed to have only one conviction vacated in Washington.

Application Instructions

Where do I go to apply for vacating my conviction?
You must apply at the court where you were convicted. To apply at the Municipal Court of Seattle please review these Application Instructions.

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Exclusions

Exclusions - What would prevent the removal of my conviction from my record?
A criminal conviction cannot be vacated if any of the following apply:
Search Revised Code of Washington (RCW)

  • You have another conviction for a new crime in this state, another state, or in federal court, since the date of the Seattle Municipal Court conviction.
  • There are any criminal charges pending against you in this state, another state or in federal court.
  • The offense was a violent offense as defined in RCW 9.94A.030 or an attempt to commit a violent offense.
  • The offense was a violation of RCW 46.61.502 (driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs).
  • The offense was a violation of RCW 46.61.504 (actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs).
  • The offense was a violation of RCW 9.91.020 (operating a railroad while intoxicated).
  • The offense was any misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor violation, including attempt, of chapter 9.68 RCW (obscenity and pornography).
  • The offense was a violation of chapter 9.68A RCW (sexual exploitation of children).
  • The offense was a violation of chapter 9A.4 RCW (sex offenses).
  • For non-domestic violence related cases, less than 3 years has passed since completion of the terms of the original conditions of the sentence, including any financial obligations and successful completion of any treatment ordered as a condition of sentencing.
  • For domestic violence related cases, less than 5 years have passed since completion of the terms of the original condition of sentence, including any financial obligations and successful completion of any treatment ordered as a condition of sentencing.
  • For domestic violence related cases, you cannot have had convictions prior to the one you are attempting to vacate that were related to domestic violence as defined in RCW 10.99.020.
  • You currently are or have been in the last 5 years restrained by a domestic violence protection order, a no-contact order, an anti-harassment order, or a civil restraining order which restrains one party from contacting another.

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