How to Vacate/Seal Felony Conviction Records

This brochure provides information and forms on how to vacate records concerning certain non-violent Class B or C felony convictions in Washington State for offenses occurringon or after July 1, 1984. “Vacate” is the term Washington law uses to describe a process for clearing a felony conviction from a person’s criminal record when certain requirements are met. The Washington State Patrol will remove a vacated conviction from the version of a person’s official criminal history record that is disseminated to the public. This provides some limited protection in background checks for employment, housing, and other purposes but it does not stop disclosure of all information about your conviction – information about the court records associated with a vacated conviction are still public and easily accessible on the Washington Courts website unless, in addition to a vacate order, you also get an order to seal or redact the court records and court indexes. Although vacating a conviction or clearing it from your record is sometimes informally called “expungement,” that term is confusing in Washington. In other states, expungement of a conviction may mean that it is deleted from a person’s records. There currently is no Washington statute that would allow for the literal expungement, deletion, or destruction of an adult conviction record.