Expungement Blog

Update – Momentum Gaining in Legislature to Change Vacate Laws

Posted by Ryan Robertson on Feb 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

I previously wrote about HB 1041, the proposed legislation to change the felony and vacate laws in Washington State. It appears momentum is gaining to pass this legislation.

However, as this legislation is reviewed legislators, changes are being made. Before I go into the changes, however, I want to review some of the key improvements to these laws that would occur if HB 1041 passes:

  • Convictions for Assault second degree, Assault third degree (except for an assault against a police officer), and Robbery second degree would be eligible to be vacated. Convictions for these offenses involving a firearm or sexual motivation would be excluded.
  • Eligibility to vacate a felony could start as soon as five years after entry of a guilty plea for class C felonies, and ten years for class B felonies; rather than having to wait these time periods from the date of the Certificate of Discharge.
  • Convictions for misdemeanor Failure to Register would be eligible to be vacated.
  • A person would be eligible to vacate more than one misdemeanor conviction.

Legislators, however, have already made one significant change to the proposed legislation. Legislators have restored the requirement that all legal financial obligations (also known as "LFO's", i.e. court costs and assessments), and not just restitution, must be paid in full in order to obtain a Certificate of Discharge (for felony offenses) and to vacate a misdemeanor conviction.

Legislative records indicate this bill (HB 1041) is receiving widespread support by prosecutors and public interest groups. This creates a strong indication this bill may pass the legislature and become law.

Please continue to read our website as I will update the progress of this legislation throughout the legislative session. Please contact our office if you have any specific questions how these proposed changes may impact you and your case.

About the Author

Ryan Robertson

Ryan is a creative and articulate advocate who limits his practice to criminal appeals and post-conviction relief including vacation, expungement, and sealing of records. He has worked exclusively in the criminal defense field since passing the Washington State bar exam in 1998. Ryan has been recognized as a Rising Star lawyer by Law & Politics Magazine.

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Ryan Robertson's practice focuses exclusively on high-quality creative appellate representation in criminal and administrative matters, as well as expungements, vacation of records, and petitions to seal.