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The Difference Between Pardons and Expungement

There are two major methods in which a person can have the penalties or the record of a criminal charge modified. In some situations, a person convicted of a crime may be pardoned by the state governor or United States president in order to reduce or remove their punishment. In other cases, a person can go before the court and request that a charge be expunged from his or her record, removing it altogether.

There are very specific parameters under which a person can file for expungement. To discuss your options under these rules, contact the Seattle DUI lawyers of Cowan Kirk today by calling 1-866-822-1230.

Pardons vs. Expungement

Pardoning and expungement may be confused as being the same thing, but these are legally distinct actions. In the state of Washington, expungement is more commonly known as vacating a judgment. This means that the crime found on the convicted individual's record is removed, as if the charges were pressed and but the verdict reached was not guilty.

Consider the following important differences between pardoning and expungement:

  • Pardons are granted by the executive branch of government
  • Expungement is granted by the judicial branch of government
  • Pardons remove or decrease penalties
  • Expungement clears a charge from a criminal record
  • Pardons may cover any charge
  • Expungement only covers certain types of misdemeanors

For many, expungement can be a legitimate option to clear DUI convictions that can ruin professional opportunities. Pardons, on the other hand, are significantly less common and do not clear that charge from a permanent record.

Contact Us

For more information regarding your options for expungement, contact the Seattle DUI attorneys of Cowan Kirk at 1-866-822-1230. Let our knowledgeable advisers assist you with your legal concerns today.

Cowan Kirk Kattenhorn

Cowan Kirk is known throughout Washington and the nation for representing all of its clients with commitment, creativity and compassion. We recognize how devastating a DUI charge can be, particularly when our clients learn how incredibly tough Washington's DUI laws have become, even for a first-time offender.

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If you need a DUI defense attorney in Seattle, Bellevue, or King County, contact us today to find out why respect for our clients, a passion for justice, and our commitment to winning have earned each of us the highest honor a member of the bar can receive from our colleagues – their referrals.