How Long does a DV Charge stay on my Record in Washington State?

There is practically no complete “expungement” in Washington State

Washington State has very limited, to put it mildly, expungement (physical, complete destruction of the court file and all government computer records).  It is in fact almost nonexistent in Washington State (e.g., a DUI can never be vacated or otherwise removed from one’s record in Washington State), But, some DV convictions for most offenses except DUI and the most serious felony and sex offenses can ordinarily be “vacated” after the applicable period of time has elapsed if there are no new law violations.

Vacating DV Convictions in Washington State

Vacating misdemeanor DV conviction, such as for gross misdemeanor Assault 4 DV can be done after five (5) years have passed following the end of your probationary period after disposition and conviction providing there are no new arrests or convictions in the interim here or in any other state or country.  Felony DV convictions are not all vacate eligible, but if it is eligible, the waiting period depending on the offense is usually either five or ten years.

A request to vacate a record is discretionary with the court

It could therefore be denied buy the court for any reason. If a request to vacate is granted, though, your previously entered Guilty Plea is withdrawn (“pulled back”) and the entire case is then dismissed.  Then, you can legally and truthfully say you were never convicted of the charge. It also means you can legally not disclose the previous conviction as one on job, school or other applications and forms, even for the government.

Not a Perfect solution

Vacating an offense is good but not a perfect answer because there still remains a record of the case. It is not deleted.  Occasionally, we can seal your criminal record instead or in addition.  Sealing criminal convictions or records is a separate and also complicated arena.    Consult an experienced professional right away to discuss your options to vacate or seal your DV conviction.

See also: