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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    5

    Default Can You Expunge the Record of an Investigation, No Charges Filed

    My question involves criminal records for the state of: Washington

    As you see in the title, I was accused and investigated, but never arrested or charged, prosecutor declined to file (lack of evidence/witnesses). For background, this was in the early '90s when the investigation took place, and the crime was allegedly committed several years earlier (when I was 17, incidentally). So everything is pre-arrest info. However, the record of the investigation is available as a public record from the county in Washington where the investigation happened; I obtained the record from the Sheriff's Office. Despite not being arrested/charged, reading the account is still potentially damaging to my reputation, and I would understandably like to have it removed.

    The Washington State Patrol has an expungement form, and according to RCW 10.97.060 non-conviction records should be destroyed at my request. However, their form asks for info that simply doesn't exist: arrest number being an example, and court dates (there are no court dates or any sort of court record, just the sheriff's investigation). I'm still waiting to verify that WSP has no record, but they shouldn't, as all their stuff relies on fingerprints and arrest records from the arresting agency, which don't exist.

    Anyway, feels like I'm in a catch-22. I believe (and am verifying) that the only record that exists is in the Sheriff's Office/County. They had a little difficulty finding it, but it's there. My case doesn't fit any of the 'normal' slots; obviously I am grateful that I wasn't arrested, but I'd really like it removed. It's the single police contact of my entire life (excluding a couple small speeding tickets), which is decent considering I'm now well into middle age!

    Thanks in advance for your advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    18,826

    Default Re: No Arrest, Declined to File, but Still Record of Investigation. Can It Be Expunge

    What indicates that there is a record to expunge?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: No Arrest, Declined to File, but Still Record of Investigation. Can It Be Expunge

    I have the record of the investigation, which I obtained as a public file from the Sheriff's Office.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    18,826

    Default Re: No Arrest, Declined to File, but Still Record of Investigation. Can It Be Expunge

    I'd attach it as an exhibit to your deletion request. Use the name of the agency that made the report as the "arresting agency" ane put N/A in the arrest number.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: No Arrest, Declined to File, but Still Record of Investigation. Can It Be Expunge

    Ok, thanks for the advice; can I infer that you're saying that I can in fact have an investigation without arrest/charge expunged (obviously not legal advice, disclaimers, etc)? There's a hotline on the WSP site page about this, specifically for clearing records, and I'm going to call and pose the same question.

    Thanks again

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,157

    Default Re: No Arrest, Declined to File, but Still Record of Investigation. Can It Be Expunge

    Try this. I didn’t read it but he title appears to fit and answers your questions.

    http://www.wsp.wa.gov/wp-content/upl...on_Records.pdf

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: No Arrest, Declined to File, but Still Record of Investigation. Can It Be Expunge

    Yes, I have that already; my concern is that they'll simply reject it, as I have no arrest number, no court info, nothing other than personal information. Not even any fingerprints. I'm just wondering if it will be possible, given that much of their form will be blank.

    I've been reading the law, looking at their site, the forms.... I fall into a seemingly grey area, as everything talks about arrest records and court records, and I have none of those.

    I'll call the line, see what I can find out. Just have to try and see what happens.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    2,647

    Default Re: No Arrest, Declined to File, but Still Record of Investigation. Can It Be Expunge

    Criminal history record information which consists of nonconviction data only shall be subject to deletion from criminal justice agency files which are available and generally searched for the purpose of responding to inquiries concerning the criminal history of a named or otherwise identified individual when two years or longer have elapsed since the record became nonconviction data as a result of the entry of a disposition favorable to the defendant, or upon the passage of three years from the date of arrest or issuance of a citation or warrant for an offense for which a conviction was not obtained unless the defendant is a fugitive, or the case is under active prosecution according to a current certification made by the prosecuting attorney.
    From your description your record doesn't seem to fit the bolded portion of the law.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: No Arrest, Declined to File, but Still Record of Investigation. Can It Be Expunge

    I'll speak with an attorney; the WSP says if there wasn't an arrest/fingerprints, they won't have any record (as I thought). Has to be done at the county level, so it's going to come down to whether the records people and DA there think it falls under nonconviction data or not. Seems clear to me that it does: it's data about me, there was no conviction (and it's essentially defamation). But obviously my opinion holds little weight when it comes to reading the law.

    Ironically I could clearly have it expunged if there had been an arrest, but possibly I can't because I wasn't......

    Just as an update, I've dug into the RCW a bit, and also found a pamphlet issued by the State specifically addressing this area of law. If you're interested, here's a link. Anyway, if I'm reading this right, I can, under the law, have a police record not resulting in an arrest actually expunged.

    Specifically, CHRI (Criminal History Record Information) is described in this way: "Such information includes reports of investigations, records of arrests, and identification information obtained from adults and juveniles who are arrested for offenses." As you can see, they're separating investigations and arrests from each other, as unique items.

    Further on, under the Deletion or Expungement section, they say: "You may request deletion or expungement of CHRI in the WSP if: (1) the file consists only of non-conviction data; (2) you are not under prosecution and you have not been arrested for or charged with a new crime; and either (3a) two years or longer has elapsed since the record became nonconviction data as a result of the entry of a disposition favorable to you, or (3b) three years or longer have elapsed from the date of arrest or filing of charges and you are not a fugitive and the case is not still pending in court.

    Information regarding how to make a request for deletion or expungement of criminal record information may be obtained from the WSP. Following the WSP’s procedure will not delete or expunge CHRI in the possession of a local police agency. A separate request must be made to the local (arresting) police agency in accordance with that agency’s procedure."

    My case meets all the criteria, qualifies as CHRI by their own definition, and should therefore be subject to expungement. I post this all to document the process for others, should they find themselves in the same circumstance. We'll see what happens. Anyone see any obvious holes?

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