Restoration of rights

General post-incarceration information

Incarceration suspends a number of your civil rights, including your right to vote, serve on a jury, hold public office, own a firearm, and travel to other countries. Going to prison may also restrict your right to hold occupational licenses for certain jobs.

How do you know what rights you lost that you may want to try to restore? Read your court paperwork carefully. Final Orders or final Judgments are documents that summarize the ruling in your case.

Vacating convictions and clearing criminal records

Many people with a criminal record want to “expunge” or “clear” their criminal histories. While Washington law does not permit the destruction of adult conviction records, some people may be eligible to “vacate” a conviction record.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Washington's guide, Is My Client Eligible to Vacate an Adult Criminal Conviction?, provides general information about the requirements to vacate.

If you have a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor, Clearviction has a tool that will help you determine your eligibility to vacate your conviction, provide information about vacating convictions, and offer forms.

Forms and Instructions
State v. Blake

The Washington State Supreme Court issued an opinion in the State v. Blake case in February 2021 declaring the strict liability drug possession statute unconstitutional.

Legal Financial Obligations (LFOs)

Legal financial obligations, or LFOs, are the fines, fees, costs and restitution imposed by the court on top of a criminal sentence. More information about LFOs can be found at:

Certificate of Discharge (COD)

A Certificate of Discharge (COD) is a document issued by the court certifying that all requirements of a person’s sentence, including payment of any and all legal financial obligations (LFOs), has been completed. A COD discharges a person from supervision by the Department of Corrections and may be needed to vacate a criminal conviction.

To restore your right to serve on a jury or run for public office, you must complete all the terms of your sentence, including paying off any and all LFOs, and obtain a COD from the court. A COD does not remove convictions from your record or restore your right to possess a firearm.

Certificate of Restoration of Opportunity (CROP)

A Certificate of Restoration of Opportunity is used after you have served your criminal sentence. It can make it easier to get a job or housing, and can help restore certain occupational licenses.

Gun rights restoration

self-help form kits

The law library sells a Gun Rights Restoration self-help kit with forms and instructions to ask the court to restore firearms rights that were lost due to mental health issues or criminal convictions in Clark County, Washington. Kits can be purchased at the library or online and mailed out.

Voting rights restoration

A new law took effect on January 1, 2022 that automatically restores voting rights to citizens immediately upon their release from prison. It also restored the right to vote to approximately 20,000 residents who are currently on community supervision following release from prison.

Driver's License suspension

If your driver's license was suspended, information that is available from Washington LawHelp includes:

self-help form kits

The law library sells an Appeal a Driver's License Suspension self-help kit with forms and instructions to file an appeal to the Superior Court regarding an administrative decision made by the Department of Licensing suspending a driver's license. Kits can be purchased at the library or online and mailed out.