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Washington state law to clear criminal records takes effect

KITSAP, Wash. (AP) — A Washington state law enabling individual criminal records to be cleared has taken effect.

The Kitsap Sun reports the New Hope Act took effect Sunday after unanimous passage in both houses of the Washington Legislature.

Officials say the new law streamlines and modifies the process for people with criminal records to vacate convictions.

The law allows multiple misdemeanors to be vacated, rather than the previous law allowing removal of only a single misdemeanor.

The law also adds some felony offenses to a list of convictions that can be removed.

Those with criminal records are required to wait for specific time periods during which they must repay legal fees and exhibit good behavior.

The waiting periods of three, five and 10 years are dependent on the crimes committed.

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