The wait to apply to clear your record may end sooner. The New Hope Act may give you a second chance at a fresh start.
Prior to its passage, you would have to wait many years to try and get your criminal record vacated by a judge. Since the Act passed last year, you may qualify for an earlier reprieve. Learn more about some of the basics of the law and when you may receive a clean slate.
There are some convictions that the New Hope Act covers. If a Washington court convicted you as an adult, you may qualify under the terms of the Act. The terms of the Act cover some felonies and misdemeanors that you have not already had vacated. You must have a guilty plea or verdict on the record. Misdemeanors are no longer limited to just one, except domestic violence convictions.
For crimes eligible under the Act, the clock for requesting the court to vacate a conviction now starts sooner. Before the New Hope Act, you had to wait up to 10 years after you fully paid any fines to apply for a reprieve. Now, the court starts counting on the date of your sentence, your release from supervision or confinement. Thus, in some scenarios, you may finish paying any fees owed and apply to vacate your conviction simultaneously.
Getting a conviction vacated in Washington may give you a fresh start. New opportunities may present themselves that you can take advantage of without the shadow of your prior conviction hanging over your head.