Expunging Criminal Records

Expunging a record under Washington State law means to literally delete the files associated with an arrest. This option is available only in cases that ended in a dismissal or a finding of not guilty, and that dismissal must not have been the result of a deferral, vacation, or other probationary agreement with the prosecuting attorney.

RCW 10.97.060 provides for the deletion of non-conviction data held by police agencies 2 years after a case has ended, and it would seem to be a simple process under this statute. However, in 2012 the Washington State Legislature amended RCW 10.97.030 which defines ‘non-conviction data’ to now exclude “Intelligence, analytical, or investigative reports and files.” Many police agencies, including the King County Sheriff’s Office, have interpreted this to mean that all police reports are now exempt from the expungement statute.

Fortunately, a court can still order a police agency to delete its records whether or not it believes they qualify as non-conviction data. Unfortunately, obtaining a court order is a little more complicated than simply sending a letter to the police records unit. If you would like to see your police reports deleted, your best option is to speak with an attorney experienced with your court and police agency.

The attorneys of Findley & Rogers always offer free initial consultations.