Restoring Your Gun Rights

Some criminal convictions can prohibit you from possessing guns and voting in Washington State. The Revised Code of Washington (RCW) sets forth a procedure for restoring those rights. That restoration can then also be used to pursue reinstating gun possession rights under federal law, which can be very important if you are planning to hunt on or near federal land.

Another, and probably more important aspect of vacating convictions and restoring rights, is the effect the process has upon your ability to find employment. The investment in hiring an attorney to clean up your record pays off when you obtain employment. For all purposes, including responding to questions on employment applications, an offender whose conviction has been vacated may state that the offender has never been convicted of that crime.

The first step in the procedure is to petition for a certificate of discharge pursuant to RCW 9.94A.637. This petition can be filed after completion of the sentence and payment of all of the associated legal financial obligations.

The second step is to take the certificate of discharge and apply to the court for an order vacating the conviction. Certain offenses are not eligible to be vacated. Our law firm can help you navigate the process, file the appropriate pleadings, and advise you on interesting aspects of this area of law, such as how to answer job applications afterwards. This is generally a process of obtaining the judgment, a criminal record from Washington State Patrol, and filing pleadings with the court that the conviction came out of.

Once the felony conviction is vacated and a dismissal entered pursuant to RCW 9.95.240, the next step is to petition the court pursuant to RCW 9.41.040 for an order restoring your right to possess a firearm. When Burkhart and Burkhart does this for you, we also seek to restore your civil rights, including the right to vote.

Restoring civil rights under federal law is more involved and expensive but ultimately worth it, especially if you are pursuing a career with the government.

See the ATF's FAQs about this topic, or Spokane County's list of forms.

Contact Burkhart and Burkhart today for individualized advice and assistance.

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