Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about firearm rights and expungement in Washington state

Washington state firearm rights FAQ

What are the benefits of restoring firearm rights in Washington state?

Restoring Washington state firearm rights allows you to own and possess firearms under Washington state law, including the ability to apply for and receive a concealed pistol license.

I have a felony conviction. Can I restore my gun rights in Washington state?

Probably. Read the restoring gun rights page for more information.

I have a domestic violence misdemeanor conviction. Can I restore my firearm rights in Washington state?

Probably. Read the restoring gun rights page for more information.

Do I have to pay off my fines before I can restore my gun rights?

If you were convicted of a felony, no, you do not have to pay off your fines. If you were convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor, yes, you do have to pay off your fines.

I was involuntarily committed for mental health treatment. Can I restore my Washington state firearm rights?

Probably. Read the restoring firearm rights page for more information.

I have a protection order out against me. Can I restore my Washington state gun rights?

Yes. If you can get the order removed, the firearms disability will also be lifted. Read the restoring Washington state gun rights page for more information.

I have a class A felony or felony sex offense conviction in juvenile court. Can I restore my Washington state firearm rights?

Yes, if you seal your juvenile record first.

I have a conviction in another state but now live in Washington state. Do I need to restore my firearm rights in Washington state?

Yes. If your conviction is in another state, but you now live in Washington state, you will need to restore your firearm rights in Washington state.

I have a conviction in Washington state but now live in another state. Do I need to restore my Washington state gun rights?

For a felony, yes because federal firearms restoration law looks to the jurisdiction where you were convicted to see if you had your firearm rights restored by that jurisdiction. For a domestic violence misdemeanor, you would only need to restore your gun rights in the state where you currently live.

Do I need to expunge my conviction in order to restore my firearm rights?

No. Expungement and restoring firearm rights are separate processes and are not connected. Expungement laws in Washington state are stricter than gun rights restoration laws, so you may qualify to restore your Washington state firearm rights even if you are not eligible to expunge your conviction.

 

Washington state expungement FAQ

What is an expungement?

The term “expungement” generally refers to the deletion of records. However, there is no such thing as a true “expungement” in Washington state as this state does not allow for outright deletion of criminal records. Instead, the term refers to vacating a misdemeanor or felony conviction, or sealing a juvenile record.

What are the benefits of vacating a conviction?

Vacating a misdemeanor or felony conviction in Washington state is extremely advantageous because it releases you from all penalties and disabilities and allows you to answer truthfully for all purposes that you were not convicted of that crime. Vacating the conviction also removes it from your official criminal history as maintained by the Washington State Patrol’s WATCH public criminal history database. Vacating does not restore Washington state firearm rights, which is a separate process.

What are the benefits of sealing a juvenile record?

Sealing a juvenile record in Washington state is extremely advantageous because it allows you to treat the proceedings as though they never occurred. In addition to sealing the court record, the Washington State Patrol removes the convictions from your official criminal history as maintained by the WATCH public criminal history database. Sealing a juvenile record does not restore Washington state firearm rights, which is a separate process.

I haven’t paid off my fines. Can I expunge?

No, you must complete probation and pay off all your fines first, then wait the required period before you can expunge. The clock does not start running until you pay off your fines and complete your probation. Read the specifics on expunging a misdemeanor or felony for more information. These rules do not apply to sealing juvenile records.

I was convicted many years ago but just paid off my fines recently. Can I expunge?

No. The required period does not start running until you pay off your fines and complete your probation. Therefore, you must wait for an additional three, five, or ten years (depending on the type of misdemeanor or felony) AFTER you paid off your fines. These rules do not apply to sealing juvenile records.

I was convicted of reckless driving or negligent driving reduced from a DUI, can I expunge?

Yes, but how long you have to wait (ten years or three years) is unclear. I have had success convincing judges that three years is the correct waiting period. Read the “expunging a reduced DUI” note on the expunging a misdemeanor page for more information.

I have more than one domestic violence misdemeanor conviction. Can I expunge one of them?

No. If you have multiple domestic violence misdemeanors stemming from separate incidents, you cannot expunge any of them. The only exception is if the multiple convictions stemmed from the same incident.

I have multiple convictions. Can I expunge all of them? Can I choose which one to expunge?

For misdemeanors, you can only expunge one in a lifetime, and it must be your most recent one. For felonies, you can expunge multiple but only if each one otherwise qualifies for expungement. You’ll need to start with the last one and work backward, expunging one after the next.

I live in another state but have a conviction in Washington state that I want expunged. Do I need to that in Washington state or in my current state?

In Washington state.

I now live in Washington state but have a conviction in another state that I want expunged. Do I need to do that in Washington state or in the other state?

The other state. Expungement law varies from state to state. This website deals only with expungement in Washington state.

Do I need to expunge my conviction in order to restore my firearm rights in Washington state?

No. Expungement and restoring firearm rights are separate processes and are not connected. Expungement laws in Washington state are stricter than gun rights restoration laws, so you may qualify to restore your Washington state firearm rights even if you are not eligible to expunge your conviction.

I expunged my conviction. Are my Washington state gun rights restored?

No. An expungement does not restore your Washington state gun rights. Restoration of firearm rights is a separate, independent process.

 

Hiring an attorney FAQ

I want to hire you to do my expungement or restoration of firearm rights. How much do you charge?

Fill out the form on this page and I will contact you with your options and associated fees.

How do I get started with hiring you?

Fill out the form on this page and I will contact you with your options and associated fees.

What is the hiring process like?

If you wish to hire me, you can complete the entire hiring process virtually via the Internet. I will email you a contract you can sign electronically and an invoice you can pay online using a debit or credit card. If you prefer a more traditional hiring experience, I do meet with clients by appointment at my Tacoma office.

What will I need to do? Will I have to go to court?

No. You will not need to go to court, and you will not need to do a whole lot more than sign some documents that I prepare for you. I will handle everything else.

How long does this take?

Usually about sixty days from when you hire me.

I live in [county/city] in Washington state. Can you help me?

Yes. I serve clients across Washington state, regardless of location.

I live in another state, but my criminal record is in Washington state. Can you help me?

Yes. You can complete the hiring process over the Internet, and you will not need to set foot in Washington state. I will handle everything for you.

 

Firearm rights and expungement lawyer serving all of Washington state

If you're looking to restore your gun rights or expunge your criminal record, fill out the contact form on this page and I will contact you with your options and associated fees. Here are some of the benefits of hiring me:

  I do all the paperwork. Legal paperwork is complicated and tedious. Let me handle it for you.

  No court appearances. No need to take time off work/school/family to go to court. I will do that for you.

  Quick turn around. I can typically complete my work within sixty days from when you hire me.

  Convenient hiring process. Complete the hiring process entirely from your email inbox without leaving your home by electronically signing the contract and paying with a debit or credit card. In-office appointments are also available.

  Affordable flat fees. I charge affordable flat fees with transparent pricing for all services.