Seattle Criminal Defense Attorney

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Posts made in August, 2015

By on Aug 13, 2015 in Background checks, Civil Rights, Constitution, Court, Criminal, Employment, Procedure, Voting | 3 comments

One thing I know as a Seattle criminal defense attorney is that people from all walks of life can and have been convicted of crimes. A conviction may have involved a plea agreement, or just be the end result of a mistake in one’s past. But for whatever reason, convictions happen. And no matter how old a conviction is, background checks bring those convictions front and center. And as I’ve written about before background check results can wreak havoc for job prospects, housing prospects (more on that below), and even travel across the border. In short, a criminal conviction doesn’t do anyone any favors. But what can you do about it? Well for some people the law allows the conviction to go away forever! Read on… First note that every state treats criminal convictions differently. So while this information is applicable in Washington, people with convictions from other states ought to talk to local attorneys. Secondly, the rules for vacating convictions differ whether the conviction is a misdemeanor/gross misdemeanor or a felony, and I’ll talk about those specifics below. There are also post-conviction issues involving restoring civil rights and juvenile convictions, but those will have to be in another post.  With that being said: What does it mean to “vacate” a conviction? Vacating a conviction means treating the conviction as if it never occurred. For a court case, when a conviction is vacated, it has the effect of withdrawing either a guilty plea or guilty finding, and putting a “not guilty” plea in its place. And then the criminal charge is dismissed completely. The end result is that the law treats the case as if the defendant always pleaded not guilty, and the charge was thrown out. As far as the records are concerned, no finding of guilt is associated with the charge. It’s important to note that because under the law the conviction is treated like it never occurred in the first place, a person can claim on applications they were never convicted of a crime! That is huge for people. While most applications that ask this question have a space for an “explanation,” in reality any disclosed conviction is often an automatic bar to a job or housing opportunity. Being able to check...

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The facts and circumstances of your case may differ from the matters in which results and testimonials have been provided. Every case is different, and each client’s case must be evaluated and handled on its own merits.