we discussed some of the many hurdles faced by people with criminal records in Washington State. Even after paying their debt to society, people with criminal convictions are often denied adequate housing, employment and other resources they need to re-enter society and contribute to their communities.
It is possible to have a conviction “vacated” from one’s record, which means their official record is wiped clean. After a conviction is vacated, a person may legally say they have never been convicted of a crime when applying for jobs or housing. This addresses many of the challenges facing people with criminal records – and Washington recently took steps to make the process easier.
On July 28, 2019, Washington’s “New Hope Act” took effect. The law, which passed through the Legislature without opposition from either party, makes several changes to help people with criminal records vacate their convictions and clear their records.
What Changes Under The New Hope Act?
Overall, the New Hope Act streamlines and simplifies the eligibility requirements for vacating criminal convictions after the requisite time has passed. Previously, it was possible to vacate multiple felony charges for certain offenses but only one misdemeanor. Under the New Hope Act, it is possible to vacate multiple misdemeanor convictions for the same person, according to the Kitsap Sun.
In addition, certain felony offenses join the list of convictions that may be vacated. Certain convictions involving robbery and assault charges were previously ineligible but may now be vacated in certain circumstances. It is wise to speak with a lawyer if you have questions about vacating a specific conviction. Kurt Bennett Attorneys is one of the leading firms advancing the New Hope Act.