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The New Hope Act

Attorneys Representing Tacoma Residents Seeking to Vacate Convictions

A criminal conviction can dramatically affect a person's life long after any sentence imposed has been completed. A conviction can impair a person's rights and harm their reputation, career, and financial status. In some cases, however, a person who has been convicted of a crime may be eligible to have the record of the conviction vacated. Fortunately, recent changes to the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) have expanded the rights of criminal offenders with regard to vacating convictions, allowing more people to start anew. If you have one or more criminal convictions, you should consult a Tacoma expungement lawyer to discuss whether you may be eligible to have your conviction vacated under recent changes to the law. The proficient criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Smith & White, PLLC can analyze your record and determine whether asking the court to vacate your conviction would be appropriate. We assist people seeking to clear their criminal records in Pierce, King, Kitsap, and Thurston Counties.

The New Hope Act

Recently, a bill known as the New Hope Act was signed into law. The changes made under the New Hope Act apply to adults who have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor in a Washington State Court. Under RCW 9.94A.640, the court may vacate a conviction in certain instances. When a conviction is vacated, the court sets aside the guilty finding and dismisses the charge. The defendant is then released from any penalties arising out of the conviction, with the exception of the reinstatement of firearm rights. Furthermore, the conviction is removed from Washington criminal history reports, and a person who has had a conviction vacated can legally state that he or she has never been convicted of a crime.

Changes Pertaining to Felony Convictions

With regard to felony convictions, anyone convicted of robbery in the second degree, assault in the second degree, or assault in the third degree (if it was not committed against a police officer) can seek to have the conviction vacated, as long as the conviction did not have a sexual motivation, firearm, or deadly weapon enhancement. Defendants must still wait five years before attempting to vacate a class C felony conviction and 10 years before asking the court to vacate a class B felony conviction. However, the waiting period now begins to run from the later of the person’s release from confinement or community custody, or their sentencing date. For crimes committed after July 1, 2000, however, any fines must be fully paid. Lastly, if a person asking the court to vacate a conviction cannot offer definitive proof that he or she completed the conditions of his or her sentence, the judge may nonetheless vacate the conviction upon a showing of good cause.

Changes Pertaining to Misdemeanor Convictions

Under the changes implemented by the New Hope Act, people are no longer limited to vacating only one misdemeanor conviction. Instead, people can vacate any eligible misdemeanor conviction. Additionally, people who were convicted of more than one misdemeanor are not limited to vacating only the most recent conviction. A conviction for failing to register as a sex offender can now be vacated, and the imposition of a no-contact order in the five years prior to filing the petition to vacate will not bar the court from vacating a conviction, as long as the order is not active and was not violated in the last five years.

Meet with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in the Tacoma Area

The passing of the New Hope Act granted countless Washington residents who were previously convicted of crimes a chance to petition the court to vacate their convictions. If you have a prior conviction, you should meet with an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss whether you may be afforded relief under the New Hope Act. At the Law Offices of Smith & White, PLLC, we can assist you in petitioning the court to vacate a criminal conviction if you meet the eligibility requirements. We have an office in Tacoma, and we are available to meet by appointment at our second office in Vashon. You can reach us via the online form or at 253-203-1645 to set up a free and confidential meeting to discuss a prior conviction.

Client Reviews
I was represented by James White and have been nothing but satisfied with the outcome. Jame is very efficient and eliminates much of the stress that the judicial system can place on an offender. I am very grateful to have such a great attorney and owe him my gratitude for helping me when times were rough. Not only is he professional, but he is also someone you can talk to on a personal level. I highly recommend James White and would undoubtedly use him again in the future. If you are in search of an attorney, do yourself a favor and have the law offices of Smith & White represent you. Mike D.
I contacted James after my charge for reckless endangerment, and right from the start he was informative and reassuring. James worked hard to get me the best possible outcome, and was always very quick to return a call or text. He was straightforward and honest with me about my case, explaining both the good and the bad in a way that was reassuring without being misleading. Overall, I highly recommend Smith and White to anyone who is looking for the most professional representation in their legal matters. Matthew B.
Attorney James White was a beacon of hope for me at a time when my options appeared limited and the likeness of a satisfactory resolution seemed close to nothing. Not only was he able to defend me in a specific sticky situation in which I hired him for, I felt as though he also went above and beyond in efforts to provide me with the best outcome possible. His calm and professional demeanor offered such a great assurance to myself and those I care about around me. I am completely grateful for his service and I most definitely recommend Mr. White. Leyasha J.
Derek Smith guided us through a troubling legal situation with absolute professionalism. This was my first experience with a trial situation and Mr. Smith was able to address all of my questions and concerns in a way that helped address some of the fear I had regarding the legal system. Mr. Smith was highly effective during the trial and the result ended up in our favor. Legal troubles are scary and it was great knowing we had a fantastic legal team on our side to help navigate the somewhat confusing situation. My wife and I emphatically recommend this law firm. Steve B.
Mr. Smith was wonderful to work with. He was professional, knowledgeable and effective!! He takes the time to listen, which is amazing and can be a hard quality to find! He is informative and straight forward, which I truly appreciate! He was quite helpful on another matter that I asked his advise on. Thank you!!! Melika