Understanding how to remove old records from the legal systems starts with determining where those records exist in the first place. Because different records sit in different agencies, their treatment varies. There is no standard or default that applies to every filekeeper aside from the fact that the records are often public in nature and accessible as government documents.
When it comes to court files, the laws and rules defined by the state Legislature spell out what records can be sealed or destroyed. Further, these rules change on a regular basis, and specific documents can have a direct effect on person’s legal rights, such as a firearm license or their immigration status. So it’s a necessity to work with an attorney who can file the right requests and documents with a given local Washington court, and who also knows what to avoid that could have a negative unintended consequence.
The process of sealing or vacating is even more technical and integrated with state laws on the matter. No agency or court clerk is going to take action absent a court order or a standing law criteria being met, such as sealing of juvenile records by law. Again, having a good attorney who can remind such agencies of their requirements in law or can obtain the necessary court order with the necessary motions and hearings is a critical success factor. While it is possible to do so as an individual, many make simple technical mistakes allowing a judge to throw out the request. That then can force a person to have to start all over again with more filing fees.
For law enforcement files, one has to go to the law enforcement agency that retained original responsibility for the case or investigation. Whoever had the police powers over the file is the owner of those documents. That can police departments, sheriff’s agencies and even prosecutor’s offices. Because information is important for tracking people and cases, these offices are not likely to volunteer help, so requests to remove or expunge documents almost always requires following correct removal processes.
To find a good Tacoma expungement lawyer, one only needs to make a call to attorney Kent W. Underwood. As a Washington record sealing lawyer he has a deep experience in navigating the technical rules of legal record filing keeping in the state, both with the courts and law enforcement agencies. The process can be extremely frustrating for those not used to the effects and pitfalls of bureaucracy, but Kent Underwood has had years carving a quick path through these obstacles and producing results. Don’t pull your hair out with stubborn records; give Kent a call and get back on track with life.