It can be embarrassing to explain to a criminal conviction even when the conviction was a misdemeanor. Misdemeanors can involve serious criminal conduct; however, much of the time they don’t. Often employers, landlords, or even volunteer organizations have little knowledge of the law and assume the worst when they find out that you have a conviction on your record. For example, driving a mere 20 miles per hour over the speed limit could net you a Reckless Driving charge. Your employer is told that the charge is a gross misdemeanor, and that you could have faced up to 364 days in jail and a $5,000.00 fine. As a result, your employer jumps to the conclusion that you are a terrible driver and passes over your resume.
Maybe you came home one day to your bi-polar girlfriend who immediately started accusing you of seeing other women while throwing every choice word in the book at you. You’ve had your fill and are upset that this is how you’re going to be treated after a hard day’s work, so you leave and slam the door a little harder than normal on your way out. The neighbors heard the commotion and called the cops, and as the cops arrive they see the door frame had cracked a little from you slamming the door on the way out. You got arrested 10 minutes later for Malicious Mischief – Domestic Violence, spent the weekend in jail, and ultimately agreed to plead guilty because the prosecutor agreed to no additional jail time, and because you couldn’t afford a good attorney to fight your case. Now your prospective landlord thinks that you’re a violent woman abuser who damages property. Guess you’re not going to be able to rent that swank new apartment now.
Maybe you made an honest mistake and for whatever reason stole $5.00 worth of makeup when you were 18 from your local pharmacy. Now you’re 25 and have graduated from college, but nobody will hire you because of that theft conviction on your record and they won’t take the time to consider your youth, or the circumstances around your conviction. As far as your prospective employer is concerned, you just as well could have robbed a bank at gun point.
These are the kind of stories we hear every day from our clients. The good news is that most people have options to clean up their record. The Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer can vacate, often referred to by some as expunging, their criminal record. Most criminal convictions qualify to be vacated; however, there are certain requirements that must be met. Those requirements include at a minimum that the crime you seek to vacate must be an eligible crime, that you have completed all terms and conditions of your sentence including paying all legal and financial obligations, that you have remained crime free for either three or five years since your conviction, depending on the type of conviction, and that you have never had another misdemeanor vacated in Washington.
The Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer offers a free telephone or in-person consultation in these types of matters. We offer low flat fee pricing and are able to offer interest free payment plans that work with any budget and particular situation. Give us a call today at (360) 334-6277 to schedule a free confidential consultation.