Restoration of rights

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.

Civil Survival has information about vacating a misdemeanor conviction and vacating a felony conviction.

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:

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.

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 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 Prior kits are no longer valid and should not be used.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.

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.

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:

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.