Can You Expunge a Washington State DUI?

One of the questions we get all the time is, "Can I expunge my Washington State DUI?" And the reason is simple, for most people who have any kind of criminal record, this is it. A DUI can happen to anyone at anytime, and it only takes one bad decision to have something on your criminal record following you around.

The sad thing is, though, that no matter how many Washington expungement lawyers you talk to, they are all going to tell you the same thing - Washington State DUIs are not expungeable or vacatable. You cannot expunge or vacate a DUI from your record in Washington State. Period.

The rules regarding this are controlled by statute. RCW 9.96.060(2)(c) clearly states:
An applicant may not have the record of conviction for a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor offense vacated if any one of the following is present: (c) The offense was a violation of RCW 46.61.502 (driving while under the influence), 46.61.504 (actual physical control while under the influence), or 9.91.020 (operating a railroad, etc. while intoxicated);
Sadly this means you can never have a DUI conviction vacated or expunged (though you may be able to have a lesser crime pled to in lieu of a DUI (reckless driving or negligent driving 1st degree) if you can convince the judge to do it).

There are a couple of reasons for this, though they are probably of no relevance to you. First, misdemeanor convictions are expungeable after 3 years have elapsed since your criminal case was complete. But, with DUIs, they must remain on your record for at least 7 years, since that is the time period within which a previous DUI may be used against you. Most judges are remiss to vacate a DUI conviction because they want it to be visible on a criminal history if you EVER get in trouble. But that doesn't mean your Washington expungement lawyer can't give it a shot. If we can show there is a great hardship because of this on your record, it is possible that it might get expunged.

In the end, sadly, the answer generally to this question is no. But you can't know for sure. If you think you may qualify to have your DUI or other criminal conviction expunged, call a Washington expungement lawyer. They can take a look at your specific situation and give you an analysis of your eligibility.

1 comment:

  1. What's so frustrating about this is that a DUI can keep you from doing so many things- barring any vehicular assault and property damage- a DUI doesn't usually result in a tragic outcome. This is a crime that has become extremely politicized; as well as domestic violence. A Physical Control- which is akin to a DUI- also stays on your record. A Physical Control is someone sitting in their car, with the keys in the ignition...even if the engine is not turned over, or if the keys are on the person. A domestic violence can result in a simple push-often times between two people, with no other witnesses, and mutual animosities. These are both misdemeanors, yet are the hardest to dismiss/expunge. It is rediculous that a large # of felonies qualify to be expunged, but something as simple as being parked in a car, in a bar parking lot- sleeping it off; or having a mutual altercation w/ a vindictive domestic partner...with no witnesses and no real injuries (situations that a majority of us find ourselves in- at some point in our lives) have no recourse for "moving on w/ their lives."
    That is rediculous! Maybe it's a "class" issue- white collar crimes are forgiven, while blue collar crimes (or most commonly seen among certain social/economic classes). Or could it be that politians are too affraid of the political backlash that comes with certain "stigmatized" crimes. There are a lot of "could ofs" associated w/ these crimes. But crimes are not about what "could have happened" but "what did happen." Not everyone who has gotten into a pushing match w/ their partners, or gotten into a car intoxicated, has killed someone. Why condemn people for what they haven't done....there is plenty of blame to be handed to those who have taken the lives of others!