General post-incarceration information
The Washington Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest has a Washington Reentry Guide that is a tool to help you get back on your feet after a period of incarceration. The Guide has information on many topics including family law concerns, employment, housing, rights restoration, legal financial obligations, debts, identification documents, healthcare, transportation, outstanding warrants, and work release.
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, a new tool will determine your eligibility to vacate your conviction, provide information about vacating convictions, and offer forms.
Some additional sources of information are:
- The State Court's Guide to Sealing and Destroying Court Records, Vacating Convictions, and Deleting Criminal History Records
- Options to remove criminal history information from Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS)
- Getting and Reading Criminal History Reports in Washington from the ACLU of Washington
- Request a Criminal History Report from the Washington State Patrol
Forms and Instructions
- Instructions and forms for vacating misdemeanor records from Washington LawHelp
- Instructions and forms for vacating certain felonies from Washington LawHelp
- Information and an interactive interview to create forms for sealing juvenile court records from TeamChild and Washington LawHelp
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.
- Information and assistance if you think your conviction was invalid under Blake from the Clark County Indigent Defense office
- Forms and instructions to ask the court to vacate your drug possession conviction and refund LFO payments from Washington LawHelp
- The Blake Refund Bureau online portal through which individuals can request reimbursements for fines or costs ordered by the courts in connection with State v. Blake
Gun rights restoration
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 convictions in Clark County, Washington.
A new state law, SHB 1562, changing the process for gun rights restoration took effect July 23, 2023. An explanation and some examples of the major changes is available in a blog post by Zuanich Law PLLC. A Final Bill Report summarizes the bill.
Because of the changes to the law the self-help kit is currently not for sale. Prior kits are no longer valid and should not be used. Call or email the law library to be notified when the updated kit is ready--likely spring 2024.
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.
- More information about the new law is available from the Washington Voting Rights Restoration Coalition
- Help determining the status of your right to vote if you had a conviction
- Information about registering to vote from Clark County Elections
- Information about felony convictions and voting rights from the Washington Secretary of State
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.
- An overview about CROPs, including what they can and cannot do and who can qualify for one, from Washington LawHelp
- Instructions and forms to File a Petition for Certificate of Restoration of Opportunity from the court from Washington LawHelp
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:
- Questions and Answers about Legal Financial Obligations (LFOs) from the ACLU of Washington
- Civil Survival has information about reducing legal financial obligations
- Instructions and forms to ask the court to reduce or waive LFOs from the Clark County Superior Court Clerk's Office
- Instructions and forms to Ask a Washington State Court to Reduce or Waive Your Legal Financial Obligations, from Washington LawHelp
- Interactive interview to prepare forms to reduce your LFOs from Living with Conviction
Driver's License suspension
If your driver's license was suspended, information that is available from Washington LawHelp includes:
- What to do if you think your driver's license is suspended
- For licenses suspended due to unpaid non-criminal (aka "civil") traffic fines
- For licenses suspended due to unpaid criminal traffic fines
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.