A criminal record can limit your ability to get a job, housing, or benefits. But under Washington law, some felony and misdemeanor convictions can be removed—or vacated—from your record. That means your conviction is no longer on publicly accessible background searches and that you can legally tell potential employers or landlords you have not been convicted of a crime.
We can help you vacate or seal some convictions (but not all).
DPD staff can help:
- Get a record sealed from juvenile court
- Relieve you of the duty to register for juvenile sex offenses
- Remove felony drug convictions from your record (under the State Supreme Court’s Blake decision)
We cannot help you get other misdemeanors or felonies removed from your record. In King County, there are at least 3 organizations that provide this service:
- The King County Bar Association's Records Project
- Civil Survival
- Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle
Juvenile records can have long-lasting effects on a person’s life. So can the requirement that you register for a juvenile sex offense.
- Help you get a record from juvenile court sealed.
- Petition the court to lower the amount of money you owe.
- Petition the court to remove your name from the registry for juvenile sex offenses.
Call us at 206-296-7662 to see how we can help.
Remove felony drug convictions
In February 2021, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that the state’s felony drug possession law is unconstitutional. (The law is also known as Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance or VUCSA - possession). The case is called State v. Blake. Any person convicted of certain drug offenses before February 2021 could get those convictions invalidated.
This relief can help a person:
- In prison whose sentence was increased due to a conviction for felony drug possession could get their sentence shortened.
- On probation (or community custody supervision) due to a conviction for felony drug possession (or attempted possession) could have their probation period stricken or shortened.
- With past felony drug convictions could have them removed from their record and get any fines and fees they paid refunded.
How to request help
If you, a friend, or a family member have a drug conviction from King County, a lawyer from the King County Department of Public Defense may be able to help.
Fill out our online Attorney Request form and, once completed, hit the submit button. An attorney will review your case history and get in touch with you within 1 week if you qualify for relief.