Washington Custody and Visitation Schedule – Rules and Guidelines

Washington state has produced laws and procedures that govern child custody matters to ensure that the children of divorced or separated parents still receive the same standard of care as when the parents were together. These laws are found in the Washington State Revised Code in Title 26. Within these statutes the information relating to the requirements for the customs and visitation schedule can be found. This information is crucial for parents to understand, because they must make a custody schedule that the court will accept and uphold. Here is a brief overview of some of the rules that guide the visitation schedule.

1. The court may order a shared parenting time schedule. Title 26 gives the court that authority to order a shared parenting schedule schedule for the customs and visitation schedule. A shared parenting schedule means that the child frequently alternates his or her residence between the houses of the parents. Parents can also agree to this type of schedule before going to court. This obviously has a big impact on the custody schedule the parents create. Some of the factors the court considers when deciding to order this schedule are: if the parents have been able to cooperate previously, if the parents agree to the arrangement, if the parents live close to each other, if either parent has abandoned the child in the past, if it is in the best interest of the child, etc.

2. The court makes all custodial decisions in the best interest of the child. In the first section of Title 26, the law specifically states that the court uses the standard of what is in the best interest of the child to make custodial decisions and allocate parental authority. Parents must focus on this standard as they create their own schedule. The parental time schedule should be based on the physical, emotional, and mental needs of the child. The child should have ample time with each parent to receive care and continue to develop relationships. The Washington court will not accept anything that does not benefit the child.

3. The schedule should maintain the child's emotional growth, physical health, and mental health. The law has declared that a schedule that is in the best interest of the child will maintain the child's emotional growth, physical health, and mental health (this is found in Title 26). Parents must think of all these things as they create the visitation schedule. To help ensure that the schedule fulfills this requirement, the court will consider: the relative strength, nature, and stability of the child's relationship with each parent; the daily roles that the parents fulfilled before separating; each parents past and potential future performance of parenting functions; the emotional needs and developmental level of the child; the child's relationship with siblings and other influential people in the child's life; the wishes of the parents and the child; and the parents' employment schedules. All of these factors influence how the custody and visitation schedule should be made.

Book Review – The Second Civil War, How Partisanship Has Paralyzed Washington and Polarized America

Ronald Brownstein in this short, concise 2009 book has produced a complete and accurate account of the recent ugly, partisan side of politics. He provides a backdrop and history of some of the contributing factors and events which have led to this unfortunate era of United States political intrigue and competition – some of the most divisive since the Civil War.

Having been a high school teacher of Current World Problems and Political Science during the 1980s-2000, I can attest to the accuracy of the events of the time period. This book starts with the highly partisan retirement speech of Tom Delay, House of Representatives Speaker, Republican, and it continues with the on-line ultra-leftists like The Daily Kos and MoveOn.org, as well as the stance of Brownstein’s description as extreme Democrat leaders – those like Harry Reid and Howard Dean… those blamed for the escalation of the “scorched earth”, highly partisan politics of our current day. Also, in this account, the author thoroughly covers the time period leading up to the early 2000s.

The problems cited by the author in 2007 are the same problems which we have nine years since that time period. Without compromise, there can be no agreement or resolution of those problems, or even an agreement of what the problems are, or whether it’s the job of an ever-growing federal bureaucracy to correct those perceived problems. One intriguing section points out that former Governor George W. Bush, as governor of Texas and serving with a democrat majority in the state legislature, compromised and was well-known as “a uniter, not a divider”. Brownstein went on to point out Bush’s attempts to duplicate that result, but to no avail. The Democrat leaders would have none of that compromise or even cooperation at the federal level. Brownstein compares this lack of cooperation and the pursuit of extreme partisan politics to the divisions over slavery – hence, the comparison to the Civil War. I wonder what the author thinks about the purely partisan passage of the so-called “Affordable Care Act”.

This is a very beneficial and informative book that contributes to the conversation – a conversation that will optimistically lead to another era of cooperation. Hopefully, that can solve the problems of the out-of-hand federal debt and budget deficits, the encroaching power of the federal government, as well as the stagnant economy and the creeping, under reported unemployment problem.

Affordable Insurance in Washington D.C.

Due to the economic recess, housing rates have skyrocketed, making it unaffordable for many aspiring homeowners. However, the automobile market is doing fine in the state, and expensive and exotic autos like Lamborghinis are also recording high sales. Seeing all those cars means auto insurance firms are thriving in the zone. Although a lot of people get covered by big names in the industry, direct insurance businesses like Geico are gaining more grounds in the auto insurance market share than old companies.

A study carried out by Value Penguin reveals that Washington D.C. Auto Insurance is relatively expensive with about $2,100 as average annual premium. This estimate makes the city the costliest to insure a car in the U.S. However, don’t be scared about these rates, with a good driving record, and without any accident recorded in the past three years, you can get a moderate coverage.

Requirements for Auto Insurance in Washington D.C.

All drivers in Columbia District ought to satisfy or exceed the least requirement for auto insurance as required by the state laws. Here are the least costs for liability insurance plan

· Minimum per person for injuries – $25,000

· Minimum per accident for injuries – $50,000

· Insurance per accident for property damage – $10,000

Policy for Uninsured Motorists

· For injuries person – $25,000

· For injuries per accident – $50,000

· Property damage per accident – $5,000

Drivers ought to have an insurance proof at all times; drivers caught without a proof risks payment of a fine and a suspension of license. If after 30 days there is still no evidence of insurance, the driver will be penalized a daily fine of $7. Driving without coverage could be precarious and may cost you several hundreds of dollars. So quit driving without coverage; get a policy today and drive legally!

Washington DC Vehicle Insurance Sharp practices

Just like the other main cities, Washington D.C. vehicle insurance industry experiences numerous fraudulent practices. Such acts include falsification of residency address, minor lies and arranged accidents and theft.

Common among these practices is policyholders feigning to be severely injured when in fact, they were not badly hurt. These frauds fall back to policyholders in the form of higher premiums. In the event, you come across fraudulent practices, kindly report to the appropriate authorities.

Alcohol-related accidents in Washington D.C.

The metro area of Washington D.C. records about ten vehicular crashes weekly. Of this estimate, one out or every three are caused by alcohol. Legally, Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) must not exceed.08 for drivers and.04 for licensed commercial vehicles. If you come across a motorist driving under the influence of alcohol of drugs, put a call through to the cops and save lives. Here are the penalties for DUI

1st Violation

* Six months Suspension of driver’s license

* $1,000 fines

* 90 days jail term

2nd Violation

* One-year Suspension of driver’s license

* $5,000 fines

* One-year jail term

3rd Violation

* Two years suspension of driver’s license

* $10,000 fines

* One-year jail term

Serving by Publication in Pierce County-Tacoma Washington (12/8/2012)

Service by publication is the most expensive option when serving legal documents. The most common and best type of service is always personal service; if personal service is not feasible then substituted service is the next best alternative. Service by first class mail signature required can be completed in certain circumstances but most individuals will simply just not sign the envelope, and lastly we have service by publication. Serving by publication requires an order or special permission from the court where your action is filed. There are a few reasons that service by publication could be justified. For instance, if the defender is homeless or say the target is eluding or evading service. For these reasons the court may or may not issue you an order granting service by publication. This type of service is by far the most cost and time consuming way to effectuate service on a defensive. All other options should be completely exhausted before attempting service of this type, including multiple attempts at old addresses, deposing neighbors, family members, and any coworkers to diminish all possibilities of exacting a good address. If you still have not procured a good address on the individual a Skip- Trace should be done to show good faith effort on your part to locate the opposition party. The process bought out to serve by publication varies from county to county and each local jurisdiction has its own set of rules that must be adhered to in order to satisfy the court. In most cases service by publication is handled by attorneys however if you can not afford one you can try using pre-paid legal. They offer full service legal consultation on all legal matters for a nominal fee of 17.00 dollars a month with no annual contract. This means you can use the service for the duration of your case and cancel it at any time. Pre-paid legal services can be purchased from Legalshield.com. Trying to navigate the minutia of legal forms can be troublesome especially if you do not have working knowledge of legal documents and civil process. For this reason we recommend calling an attorney for further instructions before attempting to do this yourself. However, if you are not able to get an attorney there are some free resources that can help you along the way. Walawhelp.org has a great way to guide and instruction forms available on their site; they are also a great resource for other legal documents and forms. Keep in mind not all situations are similar so use caution when using these forms yet helpful they are not foolproof. Once you have completed your declaration for service of summons by publication and all your paperwork has been submitted to the court you will need to obtain the court order, keep in mind you will need to show detailed proof that you have no other way to effect service . Google, Wikipedia, walawhelp.org, and the pierce county law library are good resources in addition to pre-paid legal for information on execution of service by publication.

Running your ad in the newspaper!

Once you have the signed court order call your county clerk for a list of newspapers approved for publishing legal newsletters in your county see- (RCW 65.16.070). Also see the Washington state legislatures website apps.leg.wa.gov or a quick Google search for (service by publication WA) this will produce the same result. Boilerplate samples from the states website of (RCW 4.28.110) and (RCW 12.04.100) are below for reference. Most Legal notices generally are ran in the Tacoma News Tribune or The Tacoma Daily Index. The Tacoma Daily Index will run 100 words for 31.00 dollars for the first day and 27.00 for additional days, totaling 409.00 dollars for 3 weeks and 818.00 for a 6 week run. Publications usually run for 3 to 6 weeks consecutively depending on what court action you have, please consult an attorney. The newspaper will generate an affidavit of mailing at the conclusion of your run. You can reach the Tacoma News Tribune at 253-597-8742 or the Tacoma Daily Index at (253 )-627-4853. Do not forget to file the completed affidavit of publication with the court.

RCW 4.28.110 and RCW 12.04.100 (district court) samples are below for reference.

RCW 4.28.110 (Service by publication as of 12/8/2012)

Manner of publication and form of summons.

The publication shall be made in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the action is thought once a week for six consecutive weeks: PROVIDED, That publication of summons shall not be made until after the filing of the complaint, and the service of the summons shall be deemed complete at the expiration of the time prescribed for publication. The summons must be subscribed by the plaintiff or his or her attorney or attorneys. The summons shall contain the date of the first publication, and shall require the defendant or defenders upon whom service by publication is desired, to appear and answer the complaint within sixty days from the date of the first publication of the summons; and the summons for publication shall also contain a brief statement of the object of the action. The summons for publication shall be substantially as follows:

In the superior court of the State of Washington for the county of …
…, Plaintiff,

vs.

No …
…, Defendant.

The State of Washington to the said (naming the defendant or defenders to be served by publication):

You are hereby summoned to appear within sixty days after the date of the first publication of this summons, to wit, within sixty days after the … day of …, 1 …, and defend the above entailed action in the above entitled court, and answer the complaint of the blatiff …, and serve

a copy of your answer upon the undersigned attorneys for blatiff …, at his (or their) office below stated; and in case of your failure so to do, judgment will be presented against you according to the demand of the complaint, which has been filed with the clerk of said court. (Insert here a brief statement of the object of the action.)

…,

Plaintiff's Attorneys.

PO Address …
County …
Washington.

[2011 c 336 § 98; 1985 c 469 § 2; 1895 c 86 § 2; 1893 c 127 § 10; RRS § 233.]

Notes:

Publication of legal notices: Chapter 65.16 RCW.

RCW 12.04.100 (district court)

(Service by publication as of 12/8/2012)

Service by publication.

In case personal service can not be had by reason of the absence of the defendant from the county in which the action is taken to be agreed, it shall be appropriate to publish the summons or notice with a brief statement of the object and prayer of the claim or complaint, in some newspaper of general circulation in the county wherein the action is numbered, which notice would be published not less than once a week for three weeks prior to the time fixed for the hearing of the cause, which would not be less than four weeks from the first publication of the notice. The notice may be substantively as follows:

The State of Washington,

| | > |

ss.

County of …
In justice's court, … justice.

To …
You are hereby notified that … has filed a complaint (or claim as the case may be) against you in said court which will come on to be heard at my office in …, in … county, state of Washington , on the … day of …, AD 19 …, at the hour of … o'clock … m., and unless you appear and then and there answer, the same will be taken as confessed and the demand of the plaintiff granted. The object and demand of said claim (or complaint, as the case may be) is (here insert a brief statement).

Complain filed …, AD 19 …
…, JP

[1985 c 469 § 6; Code 1881 § 1720; 1873 p 337 § 27; RRS § 1766.]

Notes:

Legal publications: Chapter 65.16 RCW.

(RCW 65.16.010-160) – (12/8/2012)

(RCW 12.04.100) – (12/8/2012)

(RCW 4.28.100) – (12/8/2012)

(RCW 4.28.110) – (12/8/2012)

Why There Are No Skyscrapers in Washington DC?

If you have ever visited our nation's capital you are certainly not aware of the Washington Monument (555-feet tallest in the city) and a few other landmarks including the US Capitol (289-feet ranked 5th tallest) there are no real high high-rise or skyscraper buildings. Look across the Potomac River to Crystal City and Rosslyn and you'll see them. Journey into the more distant suburbs of Maryland and Virginia and you'll see them. So why are there no skyscrapers in Washington DC? Quite simply it is because there is a law restrictive building height.

In 1894, the 12-story, 160-foot Cairo later Cairo Hotel opened at 1615 "Q" Street NW near Dupont Circle. An uproar from area citizens followed as many feared large monolithic buildings would dwarf the monuments and other buildings. The uproed leads the DC Commissioners to issue regulations limiting height to 90 feet for residential and 110 feet for business, or to the width of the street in front, whatever was smaller. Further lobbying caused the US Congress to pass the Heights of Buildings Act in 1899. This removed the front street restriction, but reaffirmed height limits to 90 feet on residential streets and 110 feet on business streets. It made an exception for buildings on business streets 160 feet wide along which buildings were allowed to be up to 130 feet tall.

In 1910 the act was adjusted restricting the height of any building to the width of the adjacent street plus 20 feet. Therefore a building facing a 130-foot-wide street could now be 150 feet tall. Other stipulations allowed for under certain conditions unoccupied spires, domes, towers, minarets, pinnacles, ventilation shafts, chimneys, smokestacks, penthouses over elevator shafts and fire sprinkler tanks being erected to a greater height if approved by the Mayor and of fireproof construction.

While Washington's skyline rarely tops the 12th floor there are a few tall exceptions listed in order of height. The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (329-feet) ranks behind the Washington Monument. The Old Post Office Building (315-feet) with clock tower is next then the Washington National Cathedral (301-feet). The tallest commercial building is One Franklin Square (210-feet) ranked the 6th tallest after the US Capitol. While some contend this lack of vertical growth has contributed to greater sprawl, it is certain the many monuments of Washington DC are not overshadowed.

Claim Suppression of Washington State Workers' Compensation Claims

What Is Claim Suppression?

Claim suppression occurs when employers try to keep workers from reporting injuries on the job. RCW 51.28.010 (4) Claims suppression means intentally:

  1. Inducing employees to fail to report injuries;
  2. Inducing employees to treat injuries in the course of employment as off-the-job injuries; Egypt
  3. Acting otherwise to suppress legitimate industrial insurance claims.

Why Do Employers Suppress Claims?

To save money; a claim not filed keeps experience ratings and thus Washington L & I premiums relatively low.

History of Claim Suppression

Claims suppression has previously been discouraged, by statute in Washington. Some employers ignored the law and suppressed claims. They got away with this. Those days should be over. There is a new law in Washington state which puts some teeth into preventing claim suppression.

RCW 51.28.025 – defines the penalties against the employer and other remedies for claim suppression:

  1. A penalty of at least two hundred fifty dollars, not to exceed two thousand five hundred dollars, for each indemnity.
  2. Waive the time limits for filing a claim, if the complaint or allegation of claim suppression is received within two years of the worker's accident.
  3. When a determination of claim suppression has been made, the employer will be prohibited from any current or future participation in a retrospective rating program. If self-insured, the director shall withdraw certification as provided in RCW 51.14.080.

Section (c) is an effective penalty because it is aimed at the pocket book of the employers who suppress claims. The retrospective rating program and the ability to self insure are big dollar privileges. Employers do not want to lose their ability to self insure or participate in retro, so maybe they will be careful to not suppress claims.

Has The Employer Said the Following or Something Similar?

  • You did not really hurt yourself on the job.
  • Did not you hurt your back at home last weekend?
  • If we keep our work place accidents down, employees will receive an incentive bonus. If you file a claim you will cause all your co-workers to lose their bonus.
  • If you hurt yourself at work, you will not be called out for another job with this company.
  • Employees who hurt themselves at work have a hard time around here.
  • You'll be fired if you file a claim.
  • You do not need to file a claim. We'll take care of it …
  • Why do not you put this on your health insurance?

If so, that employer is trying to suppress a claim.

What Do You Do If You Know of Claim Suppression by your employer?

  • File your workers' compensation claim
  • Talk your situation over with a Washington workers' compensation (L & I) lawyer.
  • Go Online and File a Complaint against your employer – Claim Suppression Complaint Form . See also RCW 51.28.025 (4).
  • DLI has Investigation and Subpoena Power: The Director of the Department, or the Director'signee, must investigate reports or complaints that an employee has engaged in claim suppression. Any complaint must be received in writing and must include the name or names of the individuals or organizations submitting the complaint. In cases where the Department can show probable cause, the Director is granted the authority to subpoena records from the employer, medical providers, and any other entity that the Director believes may have relevant information. The Director's investigative and subpoena authority is limited solely to investigations into allegations of claim suppression or where the Director has probable cause that claim suppression may have occurred.

The Problem Of Company Doctors and Nurses or Work Clinics That Have Close Relationships With Employers

Most doctors and nurses are good people who genuinely try to help their patients. However, company doctors and nurses or drop in clinics that cater to employers may have an incentive to downplay their role in reporting injuries. Their statutory obligation is clear.

RCW 51.28.020 provides, among other things:

"… The physician or licensed advanced registered nurse practitioner who attended the injured worker shall inform the injured worker of his or her rights under this title and lend all necessary assistance in making this application for compensation and such proof of other matters as required by the rules of the department without charge to the worker … "

Doctors and nurses who contribute to claims suppression are unethical and should be reported to their licensing boards for their unprofessional conduct. There is no legitimate excuse for any medical professional to use their position of influence and power to harm their own patient. To report a medical professional who is doing the wrong thing complete the appropriate complaint form .

Claims Suppression is Against the Law.

Guardians ad Litem in Washington State Divorce Custody Disputes: What Litigants Should Know

In the context of a divorce in Washington, a guardian ad litem (GAL) is someone appointed by the court under Title 26 RCW to represent the interests of the divorcing parents' children. This applicant researches the parties' parenting and backgrounds, and then subsequently issues recommendations to the court that often have a decisive impact on which parent receives child custody. As a result, winning over the GAL takes on critical importance. This article explains the limited strategies available to do just that; and possibly more importantly, what to do under Washington law if a GAL wrongly sides against you.

I. Winning Him / Her Over . First, Washington law allows each party to write an introductory letter to the guardian ad litem upon his or her appointment. The introductory letter should assist as well as persuade. Typically an introductory letter provides the following information as a courtesy: name of the parties and their legal representatives, the parties' contact information, an introduction of the children, and a short list of the issues affecting the customs decision. Then the typical letter briefly yet persuasively explains the litigant's positions on those issues. The litigant should always supply a copy of all relevant pleadings (court documents) along with the letter.

A second strategy may seem commonsensical, but it bears knowing: tell the truth. The guardian ad litem will interview numerous witnesses in most cases. Lies and misstatements usually became evident. Absolutely do not falsely accuse or intentionally exaggerate. Chances are, you will get caught.

A third strategy is to make a positive impression with your surroundings. The Guardian ad litem will usually interview each divorcing party (the children's parents) in the relevant party's home while the children are present, so have an activity planned for the children. Have healthy snacks set out. Make sure the house is clean. Do not leave the child eating Doritos on a pile of dirty clothes in front of the television.

II. What To Do When All Goes Wrong . Unfortunately the guardian ad litem sometimes gets it wrong and unjustly sides with an opposition party who is not a better parent for the children. The appointee may make an honest mistake in judgment. Other times the applicant blatantly mishandles a case. Either way, a litigant should have techniques in mind to counter an adversely disposed GAL.

One method for dealing with an adversely disposed applicant is to politely request that the applicant reconsider his or her position. Washington law requires the applicant to issue an advance report detailing his or her investigation and recommendations to the court. Ask for an updated or amended report if the first one is missing in some respect.

A second means of recourse is to file a grievance. Guardian ad Litem Rule (GALR) 7 requires all Washington Superior courts to make rules for filing these types of grievances. A typical grievance is based upon the applicant's failure to adhere to one of enumerated obligations under GALR 2. A common basis for grievance is violation of GALR 2 (b), which requires that "[a] guardian ad litem shall maintain independence, objectivity and the appearance of fairness in dealing with parties and professionals, both in and out of the courtroom. " Please note that filing a grievance is an extreme measure usually reserved for the most egregious violations.

A third means of recourse is to ask the court to appoint a replacement guardian ad litem. This, like a grievance, is generally reserved for the most egregious cases.

A fourth, and more common means of recourse, is to ask the court to disregard the guardian ad litem's recommendations. As stated in the case of Fernando v. Neiswandt , 87 Wn.App. 103 (1997), "the court is free to disregard the guardian ad litem's recommendations if they are not supported by other evidence or it finds other testimony more convincing." Show the court that the guardian ad litem neglected to consider important factors or speak with key witnesses. Opposing a guardian ad litem is difficult but certainly possible, especially where the applicant was lazy.

The Rolling Stones at Washington, DC RFK Stadium July 4th 1972

I grew up in the late 1960s a huge Rolling Stones fan. My godmother’s daughter (does that make her my godsister?) was U.S. president of the Rolling Stones fan club in 1966. I had all of their records and I desperately wanted to see them perform live.

So imagine my delight when in the Spring of 1972 tickets became available for a July 4 concert at RFK stadium. They sold out quickly but I managed to score a couple. Time passed very slowly for me between that day and the actual day of the concert.

We all piled into my friend’s VW and headed out. It was festival seating so we wanted to get there early enough to get decent seats. As it happens we arrived about 1:30pm and got the perfect seats (for a baseball game – front row behind the 3rd base dugout) and as the stage was being set up at 2nd base excellent seats for that night’s show.

So there we were, with 5 hours to kill before Stevie Wonder was to entertain us as the opening act. The pungent aroma of whacky tobaccy wafted through the air and bottles of cheap wine were passed around. It was a splendid atmosphere and everything was going along swimmingly until we began to hear a loud disturbance coming from behind us. It was shouting and chanting and it was coming from outside the main gate. Apparently, some kids were trying to rush the security manning the entrance and crash the scene!

Well this was all mildly amusing until someone yelled out “they’re shooting tear gas!” Which got us all giggling right up until the wind changed direction and started blowing the gas into the stadium. We stopped giggling at that point and tried to hold our breath. This worked for awhile, until we needed to actually breathe, and then it was unpleasant to say the least. Our eyes were stinging and we were all suffering.

Finally the cops got a clue and stopped with the tear gas. The air cleared and the first act took the stage. Stevie Wonder was fine. Almost nobody cared about him (which was a shame) but he did his thing for about half an hour and then got off the stage much to the appreciation of the majority of the crowd. Such is the life of an opening act.

Then another 45 minutes went by and finally the Stones took the stage. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Ladies and Gentlemen the Rolling Stones” then that was the same tour. Probably their best tour ever. They were supporting their new album “Exile on Main Street”. Lots of good songs on that one plus they did all of their hits to date (the very same hits everybody wants to hear today). Mick noted the historic occasion (he majored in economics and history after all at the London School of Economics) and congratulated us all on our independence.

I have been to four Stones concerts over the years and every single one produced an atmosphere that was so thick you could cut it with a knife. I don’t know what it is about that band, but they do two amazing things every time. They create an amazing atmosphere as I said and they relate to the crowd as though you were an equal. Absolutely no sign of “hey I’m a rock star thanks for your bread man and we’ll play what we want or not play at all, whatever”. It’s uncanny but you really feel like they’re your buddies from next door and that they’re just hanging out with you for that 2 hour period.

Well they played for a little over 2 hours and 3 encores and then it was time to stumble back to the car and try to find our way home again. All in all just the best experience that a 20 year-old could have had back then that didn’t involve Robert Redford and the Mormon Taburnacle Choir. Oh come on, use your imagination.

Expungement of Criminal Records in Washington State – 7 Steps to Clearing Your Record

You don’t have to be stuck with a criminal conviction on your record. Your Washington State criminal conviction can be expunged if you meet the criteria. And after your conviction is expunged, Washington State law permits you to state you have not been convicted for employment purposes.

Expungement is an often misunderstood term and process. In Washington State expungement of a criminal record or criminal conviction is accomplished by Vacating the Criminal Conviction. The terms Expungement and Vacating are largely interchangeable, the difference being that Vacating is the legal term.

Expungement of a criminal record by vacating the conviction does not destroy or seal the file. However, it is possible to destroy, or expunge, an arrest record if the eligibility requirements are met. When an arrest record is expunged, the booking photos and fingerprints are destroyed and removed from the police record.

In Washington State, the expungement process differs between felony and misdemeanor convictions. The following 7 steps are an overview of what is involved.

1. The Required Time Period has Passed Since the Case Completed.

The first eligibility requirement to expunge your conviction in Washington State is passage of the required time period. For a misdemeanor, the time period begins to run on the date the case is Closed. For a felony conviction, the time period begins to run on the date a document called a Certificate of Discharge is filed with the court. In both instances, a case is Closed or a Certificate of Discharge is filed after all the sentence conditions are completed as required.

2. The Conviction is Eligible for Expungement.

Certain convictions, and classifications of convictions, are not eligible for Expungement in Washington State. Generally, class A felonies (the most serious), sex crimes, and violent crimes cannot be expunged in Washington State. Among misdemeanors, Washington State does not permit a DUI conviction to be expunged.

3. You Meet the Clean Behavior Requirement.

Two situations will make your conviction ineligible for expungement. For a misdemeanor, if you were convicted of another crime on a later date then you would not be eligible to have the misdemeanor expunged. For example, if you were convicted of a misdemeanor in 1995, and another crime in 1997, then the 1995 crime would not be eligible to be expunged. For a felony, if you were convicted of another crime after the date the Certificate of Discharge was filed then you cannot expunge the felony.

4. Special Rule for Misdemeanors.

Washington State has an interesting rule that applies only to misdemeanor convictions. To expunge a misdemeanor, you cannot have had any other conviction expunged (vacated). What this means is if a person has a felony conviction and a misdemeanor conviction, and the person expunged the felony conviction first, then the misdemeanor could no longer be expunged. However, if the misdemeanor was expunged first, and if the misdemeanor conviction occurred before the felony conviction, then the felony could still be expunged.

5. Preparation.

An expungement, or vacation of a criminal conviction, requires a judge to sign a court Order. The court process is begun by filing a Motion to Vacate Conviction with the court. Prior to filing the Motion, you should get copies of the Docket and the Judgment & Sentence from the court clerk. You should also obtain a criminal history report, called a WATCH Report, from the Washington State Patrol website.

6. Your Day In Court.

Most Washington State courts require a hearing to Expunge, or Vacate, a criminal conviction. Most courts do not require you to attend if you have a lawyer appearing at the hearing on your behalf. If the preparation has been done properly, then the hearing should go very smoothly and the judge will sign the Court Order Vacating your criminal conviction.

7. Your Criminal Record is Cleared.

The court clerk processes the Order and sends a certified copy to the Washington State Patrol, which removes the conviction from the public database. The FBI record is updated based on the Washington State record. And, if the Order was prepared correctly, a copy will also be sent to the police department that handled the case and your record will also be cleared in their file. Your conviction has now been expunged (vacated), and your criminal record is cleared.

As you can see, you don’t have to be stuck with a criminal conviction on your record. It is not difficult to expunge a conviction in Washington State if you meet the straightforward criteria. In most cases, these 7 steps take only a few weeks to complete.

Copyright ©2008 Douglas Stratemeyer. All Rights reserved.

George and Martha Washington Lamps – A History

Sorry, but these lamps really have little to do with George and Martha Washington except for their fashion of clothing and dress.

Most George and Martha Washington lamps were made of porcelain circa 1940. They were commonly made with real 22 K gold trim. Try as much as you like but you can never duplicate the gold color trim used in these beautiful porcelain lamps unless you use real gold.

Although commonly called George and Martha Washington lamps, the decorative figures adorning these porcelain lamps actually represent wealthy members of the court of French King Louis XV around 1765.

The decorative figures are usually in various states of romance, picnics,dancing, poetry, singing, etc. The original paintings on many of these lamps were originally from the French artist Jean- Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806). Fragonard was well known for his very lewd and hedonistic art that was highly sought after by wealthy art patrons of Louis XV’s morally loose and fun loving court. George and Martha lamp decorations represent Fragonard’s much more reserved paintings.

George and Martha Washington lamps are no longer being produced and the value of these vintage lamps continue to rise.

George Washington lived from 1732- 1799 so he was alive when the original designs were created for these beautiful lamps in France.

In 1775, the Continental Congress appointed Washington commander-in-chief of the American revolutionary forces. He was later elected president in 1789 but George and Martha Washington had nothing to do with these lamps except they both had a similar fashion of dressing which was also common in France during that period.

– Jim Hoyle