Wiping Your Record Clean

Expungement is a court-ordered process where the legal record of an arrest or a criminal conviction is sealed, or erased in the eyes of the law. When a conviction is expunged, the process may also be referred to as setting aside a criminal conviction. The availability of expungement, and the procedure for getting an arrest or conviction expunged, will vary according to the state or county in which the arrest or conviction occurred.

An expungement ordinarily means that an arrest or conviction is sealed, or erased from a person’s criminal record for most purposes. After the expungement process is complete, an arrest or a criminal conviction ordinarily does not need to be disclosed by the person who was arrested or convicted. For example, when filling out an application for a job or apartment, an applicant whose arrest or conviction has been expunged does not need to disclose that arrest or conviction.

In most cases, no record of an expunged arrest or conviction will appear if a potential employer, educational institution, or other company conducts a public records inspection or background search of an individual’s criminal record.

An expunged arrest or conviction is not necessarily completely erased, in the literal sense of the word. An expungement will ordinarily be an accessible part of a person’s criminal record, viewable by certain government agencies, including law enforcement and the criminal courts. This limited accessibility is sometimes referred to as a criminal record being “under seal.” In some legal proceedings, such as during sentencing for any crimes committed after an expungement, or in immigration / deportation proceedings, an expunged conviction that is “under seal” may still be considered as proof of a prior conviction.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer.

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I’m on Probation

Did you just plead guilty? … And you are not going to jail? Just probation? Has your lawyer advised you on what probation is and what will be required of you?

Probation is the suspension of a jail sentence that allows a person convicted of a crime a chance to remain in the community, instead of going to jail. Active probation requires that you follow certain court-ordered rules and conditions under the supervision of a probation officer. Typical conditions may include performing community service, meeting with your probation officer, refraining from using illegal drugs or excessive alcohol, avoiding certain people and places, and appearing in court during requested times and for many alcohol/drug related crimes, you may be required to submit to random urine analysis tests. But how long will this last?

Typically, the amount of time you are on probation depends on the offense and laws of your state. Typically, probation lasts anywhere from one to five years in Washington state, but can last longer and even up to life depending on the type of conviction, such as drug or sex offenses.

A person who is placed on probation is usually required to report to a probation officer and follow a variety of conditions during the probation period. Specific conditions may include: 1) meeting with your probation officer at set times; 2) appearing at scheduled court appearances; 3) paying probation fees and restitution to the alleged victim; 4) avoiding certain people and places and not traveling out of state without permission from your probation officer; 5) obeying all laws and committing no new law violations and 6) refraining from illegal drug use or alcohol use )if ordered) while also submitting to random drug and alcohol testing. These are just some examples of what is required of one while on probation. There can be many other conditions. Typically, the conditions imposed relate to the type of criminal offense. For example, a judge may require you to submit to periodic drug testing or attend a drug rehabilitation program for a drug-related offense.

So now that you are on probation, you may ask what the consequences are if you happen to violate any of the conditions? Probation violation occurs when you break any of the rules or conditions set forth in the probation order at any time during the probation period. When a potential violation is discovered, your probation officer has the discretion to simply give you a warning, or require you to attend a probation violation hearing. If a judge determines that you violated your probation, you may face additional probation terms, heavy fines, a revoked probation, jail time, or more.

During a revocation hearing, the prosecuting attorney must show that you, more likely than not, violated a term or condition of your probation using a “preponderance of the evidence” standard. Generally, you have a right to learn of any new charges against you and to present evidence in court before a neutral judge that may support your case and/or refute the evidence brought against you. You may want to consult with an attorney or other legal professional regarding the rights available to you in your particular state.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer.

Can I Expunge my DUI?

A driving under the influence (DUI) arrest or conviction can have a negative impact on one’s ability to secure a job, get a student loan, rent an apartment or apply for credit, even if it seems completely unrelated or happened several years ago. Criminal record expungement laws vary from state to state. Some states do not allow it at all for convictions for DUI and only allow it for arrests that did not result in a conviction. Other states will allow expungements, but only under certain conditions.

Expungement, also called “sealing a conviction” or “vacating a conviction,” effectively hides a a criminal charge, arrest or conviction in the eyes of the law. An expunged offense may still be used as proof of a prior conviction, but expunged offenses are not typically visible to prospective employers, educational institutions, credit issuers or other entities conducting background checks.

In some legal proceedings, such as during sentencing for any crimes committed after an expungement, or in immigration/deportation proceedings, an expunged conviction that is “under seal” may still be considered as proof of a prior conviction.

The ability to expunge a drunk driving arrest or conviction varies by state and often is limited to first offenses. Some states only allow for the expungement of arrests that do not result in convictions or guilty pleas, while others allow for the expungement of most first convictions that don’t appear to be part of a criminal pattern. In all cases, it is up to the court to decide whether or not they will grant the expungement. In Washington State, a DUI conviction can never be expunged off one’s record.

Depending on the state and/or county, special eligibility rules might exist for expungement of DUI arrests or convictions that occurred while the offender was a juvenile, but this is not the case in Washington State.

If you were convicted of a misdemeanor DUI violation in California, for example, you may file a petition for expungement after successfully completing probation. Even felony DUI convictions can sometimes be expunged in California, but this often involves extra court procedures, such as the reduction of the conviction status to a misdemeanor.

In contrast, Florida and Washington law only allows for the expungement of DUI arrests where the charges were dropped, dismissed by the court, never filed or where the accused was not found guilty.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer.

Violation of Uniformed Controlled Substance Act

One of the most common offenses found in Courts across the United States, are drug offenses. Both the Federal and State drug possession laws make it a crime to willfully possess illegal controlled substances such as marijuana (with exception to certain states), methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD, heroin and other controlled substances. These laws also criminalize the possession of chemicals used in drug cultivation and manufacturing, as well as certain accessories related to drug use. Drug possession laws vary according to drug type, amount, and geographic area of the offense. Possession of small quantities may be deemed “simple” possession and may be charged as a misdemeanor depending on the drug, while possession of large amounts may result in a charge of possession with intent to distribute.

Possession of certain illicit drugs violates federal and state laws. While drug possession laws vary widely from state to state, the elements of the offense are generally the same. Prosecutors must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knew the drug in question was a controlled substance, and that he or she knowingly had possession of the drug. Such charges may be filed against one or more individuals who were mere accomplices or just simply around the controlled substances in question.

Drug possession laws generally fall into one of two main categories: simple possession for personal use and possession with intent to distribute. The latter category typically carries much stiffer penalties upon a conviction, and are usually serious felony charges. A simple possession charge is not as serious, and one first time offenses, are often times amended down to a misdemeanor. To prove possession with intent to sell, prosecutors may present evidence such as digital scales, baggies, large quantities of the drug, large amounts of cash in small bills or testimony from witnesses.

Drug possession laws also prohibit paraphernalia such as syringes, crack pipes or bongs. The Federal Drug Paraphernalia Statute defines what constitutes drug paraphernalia but usually hinges on a determination of primary use. For example, a newly purchased water pipe may not be considered a marijuana bong unless it has drug residue or is sold explicitly as a marijuana bong. Laws also exist to restrict the possession of certain chemicals or materials commonly used in the cultivation or manufacturing of drugs, such as the laboratory equipment used to make methamphetamine.

While some states have legalized possession of marijuana for medical use, and both Colorado and Washington have legalized its recreational use, it is still considered illegal in all cases under federal law.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer.