Certain convictions for misdemeanors and high misdemeanors may be overturned or “expunged” under Washington law. When a conviction is overturned, the offender is no longer subject to the associated fines and restrictions. The conviction will no longer be listed in the person’s criminal history once the record of the conviction has been nullified. If questioned, for instance on a housing or employment application, the person may legitimately respond that he was not convicted of that offense. There are some convictions that can be overturned in the criminal traffic arena, but not all of them.
Can DUI be expunged in Washington State?
No. DUIs cannot be wiped off a driver’s record, per § 9.96.060 of the Washington Revised Code. So, regrettably, a driver’s DUI convictions won’t be able to be expunged from their criminal record. While many drivers in Washington State find this aggravating, there are good reasons why DUIs are so challenging to have removed from a criminal record.
In Washington State, DUIs are taken very seriously, and the laws reflect this. Although getting a DUI is quite common, Washington state does not allow the erasure of criminal records related to a DUI after a set period of time.
Why Can’t I Get A DUI Taken Off My Record in Washington?
DUI expungement in Washington State is not possible for a variety of reasons. Having a DUI on their record is an effective way to lessen the likelihood that they would do so and end up with a second driving conviction. The first is that the guilty driver could make the same mistake again.
Driving offenders who commit significant offenses repeatedly face harsh penalties, so it’s important to manage DUI accusations cautiously and stay clear of further charges. A DUI conviction in Washington State remains on a person’s record for seven years because a further offense is likely.
Another reason why drivers are unable to have DUI offenses erased from their records is that most courts want defendants to bear the full weight of their responsibility for their risky driving practices.
Because judges want the conviction to be taken seriously and deter future offenses, they are especially reluctant to remove DUI convictions from a driver’s criminal record.
Record Vacation vs. Deferred Sentence vs. Deferred Prosecution
The concept of a “deferred sentence” should also be understood by anyone who is now facing a DUI arrest and hopes that the charge will be dropped. A postponed sentence is a type of sentence in which the court “defers” punishment for a while. During that time, the lawsuit is dismissed if the defendant complies with specific requirements.
This is a significantly better option than a record vacation because it happens considerably faster and, if granted, is uncontested as long as the person has cooperated with all of the court’s requirements. Additionally, a “deferred sentence” should not be confused with a “deferred prosecution”. The latter is a deal to drop the charges in exchange for finishing a lengthy program of drug, alcohol, and/or mental health treatment.