The proposed new vacate law (HB 1041) , otherwise known as the "New Hope Act" has been passed by both chambers of the State Legislature. This monumental change to the felony and misdemeanor vacate laws must now be signed by Governor Jay Inslee. Under existing state law, new laws go into effect 90 days after the close of the legislative session.
Here is re-cap of the major changes under this law, once it goes into effect:
- Certain 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. Note: Convictions for these offenses involving a firearm or sexual motivation would be excluded.
- A court would be able to waive noncompliance with certain sentencing conditions and issue a Certificate of Discharge as soon as five years after entry of a guilty plea for class C felonies and ten years for class B felonies.
- 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 legally eligible to vacate more than one misdemeanor conviction.
- A person would no longer have to wait five years following expiration of certain no contact orders to vacate a misdemeanor conviction, and would only need to prove that no such orders are in effect at the time a petition to vacate is filed.
I will post another update once Governor Inslee signs off on the new law and we have a better understanding of the exact date this new law will go into effect.
Please feel free to contact our office with any specific questions you may have about how this new law may affect your case.