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New Hope Act Expands Eligibility for Vacating Criminal Convictions in Washington State

New Hope Act

In April 2019, the Washington Legislature passed House Bill 1041, otherwise known as the New Hope Act. Governor Inslee signed the New Hope Act into law on May 9, 2019. It will become effective on July 28, 2019. The New Hope Act makes significant changes to vacating criminal convictions in Washington state. The Act eliminates many of the former inequities present in the process and broadens the eligibility requirements, making more people eligible to vacate their criminal record in Washington state. Read on to see if the New Hope Act helps you.

Does the New Hope Act apply to me?

The New Hope Act only applies to you if you have an adult criminal conviction (guilty finding) in a Washington state court for a felony or a misdemeanor that has not already been vacated. If your inquiry is about juvenile records, gun rights, or dismissed cases, the New Hope Act does not apply to you.

How does the New Hope Act affect vacating felony convictions?

The following changes are being made to vacating felonies:

How does the New Hope Act affect vacating misdemeanor convictions?

The following changes are being made to vacating misdemeanors:

What does vacating a Washington state conviction accomplish?

Vacating a Washington state conviction means that the guilty finding in the case is set aside and the charge is dismissed. You are released from all penalties and disabilities associated with that conviction (except your firearm rights are not restored, which is a separate process). The conviction is removed from your public Washington State Patrol criminal history report, and you are allowed to answer that you have never been convicted of that crime. The court record associated with the charge does remain public, but the status of the case changes from “guilty” to “vacated.” This is the only relief available under Washington state law for adult criminal convictions.

I want to take advantage of the New Hope Act – what should I do?

Fill out the contact form below for a free personalized consultation from Washington’s top lawyer when it comes to clearing criminal records and restoring firearm rights.


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