Final grade: B+

Exclusion Grade


Relevance Grade


Due Process Grade



  • Boards may only use “directly related” convictions when considering applications and must consider multiple factors, including evidence of rehabilitation.  
  • Created a predetermination petition process.
  • Imposes a 10-year time limit for considering old convictions.

Areas of Improvement

  • Extend state’s protections to licenses for health professionals.
  • Ban boards from considering arrests that did not result in a conviction as well as sealed and expunged records.

Updated May 2021

Thanks to a reform enacted in 2021, Washington’s legal protections for ex-offenders seeking licenses are well above  average, earning the state a B+ for its final grade. 

However, the state’s safeguards do not apply to health occupational licenses, which can be denied to applicants on the basis of any crime involving drugs, violence, financial exploitation, or moral turpitude. In addition, a health licensing board may deny a license if an ex-offender has been convicted of a gross misdemeanor or felony “relating to the practice of the person’s profession,” a far lower standard than the state’s main law.

Statute: Wash. Rev. Code § 9.96A (2016)

Overarching ban on blanket bans Yes, but excludes health licenses
Ban on considering arrest records No
Ban on considering post-conviction relief records No
Time limit 10 years, except for crimes against children
Ban on vague, discretionary character standards Yes
Relationship between the crime and the license sought "Directly relate"
Required factors for consideration
Rehabilitation Yes
Time elapsed since crime was committed Yes
Age when crime was committed No
Employment History Yes
Testimonials Yes
Due Process
Petition Process Yes
Burden of Proof Both unspecified
Right to appeal Yes
Written notice requirement Yes