My case was dismissed but it is still showing on my record. What should I do?

By The Law Offices of Lance Fryrear

Almost all jobs nowadays will do a background check as a part of the selection process for hiring. What is a background check, what is an employer looking for, how can you make sure that your record is accurate?

A background check when applying for a job or apartment is usually done using an outside source. There are companies whose main function is to find information regarding an individual’s record of criminal offenses and provide that information to potential employers or landlords. If you have a traffic infraction that may be passed along, however, traffic infractions are usually not a cause for alarm from an employer. Most people have a speeding ticket or red-light ticket. However, what happens if you have criminal matters on your record? What if your criminal matter was dismissed?

If Charges are Dismissed, Can You Still Have a Criminal Record?

If you were previously charged with a crime and were fortunate enough to get that crime dismissed, your arrest may still show up on your official criminal history. It may also show up on the records of the private companies that sell information to employers. If you had an attorney help get your matter dismissed, it would be a good idea to ask your attorney to let you know about the option to have your arrest, called non-conviction data, deleted from your official Washington State Patrol Criminal History Information Section record. If your matter was dismissed outright, that means not dismissed by a successful deferred sentence, or dismissed by a completed SOC (stipulated order of continuance), the Washington State Patrol may be obligated to delete your arrest from your official Washington State criminal history. The law that applies is linked here.

As you can see in the link above above, two years from the date your matter was dismissed have to pass without any new charges for the non-conviction data to be subject to deletion. If no charges were ever filed, then the time frame to wait is three years from the arrest date.

Please be advised that the deletion of the non-conviction data (the arrest) from your official record MAY NOT cause any deletion from a private company’s database like lifelock or These are private companies that sell information and they are not likely to adjust their records. You may need to ask your attorney to write a letter stating the outcome of your matter with a docket or document stating the outcome so you can send that letter to any background check company that is standing between you and a job, or you and an apartment. If you are denied one of these things, do not be afraid to ask the potential employer or landlord for a copy of the denial paperwork so you can get it fixed.

If you were convicted of a crime in the past, there is a different procedure for trying to get conviction records vacated. We will cover that in another blog on our site. That law changes frequently, however, so you may just want to call our office to help.

The Law Offices of Lance Fryrear is always ready to help clear your name of any charges and protect your abilities to live a life without the worry of a background check stopping you from succeeding. If you need help, please call us. Call us and we will be there for you.