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New Hope Act and Vacating Criminal Charges

On July 28, 2019, the New Hope Act altered the laws in Washington State that allow people convicted of crimes to vacate those convictions. Details on this new law and the actual text can be found here. So what does this act change?

If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor, then the New Hope Act now allows you to vacate multiple misdemeanors convictions as long as you meet certain requirements. These include completing payment of fines and being crime free for a certain amount of time. The new law also allows those who have been convicted of failing to register as a sex offender the opportunity to vacate their conviction.

Under the old law people who had been restrained by an order of protection, no contact order or restraining order within the past five years were prohibited from vacating any misdemeanor convictions. The New Hope Act now allows a person to vacate a misdemeanor even if they have been restrained by one of the above orders so long as they have not been found to have violated the restrictive order two or more times in the past five years.

If you have been convicted of a felony, the New Hope Act now streamlines the process to obtain a certificate and order of discharge. The certificate and order of discharge is required to vacate felony convictions. Under this new law the certificate and order of discharge will be backdated to reflect when the person completed the original sentence requirements. This change is important since there is a waiting period for vacating felonies that starts on the date of the certificate and order of discharge. The certificate and order of discharge also restores several of your civil rights, including the right to vote and to serve on a jury. However, these new laws do not make restoration of gun rights automatic. Restoring the right to possess a firearm is still a separate process.

The New Hope Act now allows those who have been convicted of Robbery in the 2nd Degree, Assault in the 2nd Degree and some types of Assault in the 3rd Degree to vacate their conviction as long as there are no enhancements to the conviction and all the other statutory requirements have been met. Prior to these changes in the law people convicted of these charges were ineligible to ever have their conviction vacated.

If you have a conviction on your record that's keeping you from the job you want or putting an artificial ceiling on your future, then you owe it to yourself and your family to see if that conviction can be vacated. Contact Cooney Law Offices today to see if we can help!

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