A person can be arrested and never charged, or charged but not convicted of anything, yet a record of that arrest and the fact of the unproven or unfiled charge will remain in the public domain for all to see. Often such information can be removed from the system as Washington allows for certain “non-conviction data” to be deleted. A request to delete this type of criminal history is not automatic. There are some initial requirements that, if not satisfied, will result in the law enforcement agency not even entertaining the request. Even if the general requirements have been established, law enforcement agencies can refuse to delete the non-conviction date under other specific circumstances.
At Milios Defense, we have been helping clients delete non-conviction criminal history for over 25 years. We would be happy to review your case history to help determine whether you are eligible and the challenges you might be facing.
Requirements for Deleting Non-Conviction Data
In order to qualify to have non-conviction criminal history deleted from public records, you must be able to prove to the court that:
- Two years or more have passed since there was a favorable entry to the applicant that resulted in the record becoming non-conviction data, usually a dismissal order; or
- Three years have passed since the date of arrest for charges that were never ultimately filed.
These are the only pre-requisites for being able to request that the non-conviction date be deleted and for giving the Washington State Patrol (or another law enforcement agency) the discretion and authority to grant that request. Law enforcement agencies have the right to refuse to make the deletion under circumstances. And many, including the Washington State Patrol, will refuse to do so unless by its reading of the statute, every requirement has been met.
When Law Enforcement Agencies Can Refuse to Delete Non-Conviction Criminal Records
Once eligibility to delete the non-conviction information has been established, the law enforcement agency can either remove that information from its records or it can refuse to do so if it determines any one of the following three things exist:
- The case in question was dismissed as the result of some form of agreed deferral or pre-trial diversion
- The applicant has any prior convictions, either misdemeanor of felony
- The applicant was arrested or charged with a crime since the record in question became non-conviction data
While not always the case, we have found that the Washington State Patrol will usually refuse to delete the record if it believes any of the potentially disqualifying factors exist. Further, the agency will sometime refuse to delete the information even if the applicant is fully qualified with none of the exceptions being present. In situations like these, it would be necessary to go to court if the agency cannot be convinced to reverse the initial denial.
If you were once arrested or charged with a crime that was ultimately dismissed, you absolutely should look into having as many of those records deleted as the law will allow. Even though a conviction doesn’t appear on your record, the fact of the arrest and the filing of the charge will. And that alone could be prejudicial enough to cause significant employment, housing, or credit issues. If you have any questions about this process or would like our assistance, please contact the lawyers at Milios Defense for a consultation.