Gen X got a bad deal when it comes to criminal records. One thing I have noticed in my practice is that people born in the 70s and late 60s did not seem to get as fair of a shake when it comes to criminal records. I think there are a few things at play: the combination of record really sticking and lasting in the information era combined with the really tough on crime policies from the 80s and 90s.
When I pull a lot of 90s cases, I don’t see deals. I see really harsh mandatory sentences. I see $30,000 restitution bills. It wasn’t a terribly empathetic period. The combination of youthfulness, the permanency of criminal records, as well as the attitude in time that we really need to be tough on crime has led to people not only being significantly punished at the time but not being able to shake the punishment of their criminal record.
The good news is that most of those cases are eligible to be expunged, vacated, or sealed. Even cases that have an outstanding financial obligation, those $30,000 restitution bills, if it was before the year 2000, that is the cutoff then even the finds are forgivable. I’ve also found that prosecutors and judges are really showing a lot more kindness and empathy especially in terms of those really disproportionately severe sentences.
Marijuana has been in the news again with President Biden’s recent pardon of marijuana cases and those people with a marijuana criminal record might want to know how that may impact them. So the kind of ironic twinge to it is that most possession of marijuana crimes, simple possession of marijuana crimes would not be federal because federal involves the commerce between states. So, the federal marijuana pardon is not going to apply to state cases where the majority of simple arrests for possession happen.
However, Washington, a couple years back did our own version of that and now all marijuana offenses are eligible to vacated as long as they are possession based. Also, most drug offenses for drugs more serious than marijuana are eligible to vacated without the normal hoops that come with it based on as similar process that happened in our state. So, if you are wondering about your marijuana or drug conviction in Washington State, pleases feel free to give my office a call. (206) 222-8829.
Do you have a criminal record that is holding you back? Have your been arrested for something and even though you were not convicted, it keeps coming up preventing you from travel, school, work opportunities. My name is Stefanie Dorn, and I am an expungement lawyer here to help you.
We know that the punishments from the criminal justice system do not stop at sentencing and new laws have passed that make it even easier to vacate your criminal conviction or expunge your arrest. This can help you with your job, your certifications and licenses, and moving forward from something in life that you are ready to get past. I’m an experienced expungement attorney. I’ve handled hundreds of these cases, I like the intricacies, and results I can get for my clients.