Don’t believe what they say: old dogs can learn new tricks. It’s up to you to put your old ways behind you, but Washington law does allow you to vacate certain prior criminal convictions if you meet statutory criteria. Prosecutors, and the court, often do not like to set aside prior convictions and therefore this can be a complicated task; however, if done successfully you will be able to say that you have never been convicted of a crime.
That’s an easy one. Almost all court records are open to the public and anyone can sniff around and see them. Even if you have a conviction vacated, it is still possible for someone to read the entire case file, including any charging documents or plea agreements. So, depending on your situation it may be advisable to seal the file so that the public can not freely access it. In Washington State, sealing a court file is a discretionary decision by the court.