A new Washington law allows convicted felons to vote immediately upon release from total confinement. Felons are those people that are found guilty of a felony offense in the Washington criminal court system. If you or a loved one is facing a felony charge, it is critical that you contact a criminal defense attorney now for help.

What is House Bill 1078?

House Bill 1078 is the new Washington law that restores voting right to convicted felons once they are released from confinement. The law went into effect on January 1, 2022. Felons lose the right to vote once they are convicted of a felony offense. Prior to the passage of HB 1078, felons could not regain their voting rights until they completed probation.

The new legislation passed the state House along party lines by a 57 to 41 margin. It passed the state Senate by a vote of 27-22. Proponents of the bill state that data shows restored voting rights help reduce crime rates and rates of recidivism.

What is a Washington Felony?

There are two general categories of crimes under Washington Law. These are felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies are by far the more severe of the two categories.

Examples of a Washington felony include:

Felonies are categorized into three classes – A, B and C. Each of these three classes has an associated maximum penalty. For example:

  • The maximum penalty for a Class A felony is life in prison and a maximum fine of $50,000.
  • The maximum penalty for a Class B felony is up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $20,000.
  • The maximum penalty for a Class C felony is up to 5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.

The above are maximum penalties. The specific penalty for a Washington felony is governed by the Washington State Sentencing Guidelines. These guidelines provide fixed sentencing ranges for most felonies. The seriousness level of a crime and the criminal history of a defendant are used to figure out what sentencing range a crime comes within.

Judges at times can make departures from the Sentencing Guidelines. This means they can increase a recommended sentence (i.e., make a sentence more severe) or decrease a recommended sentence (i.e., make a sentence less severe). If a departure occurs, a judge will consider the facts of a case, and, any aggravating or mitigating factors in determining a final sentence.

Contact Black & Askerov for Help

The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Black & Askerov have over 25 years of combined experience defending clients on felony charges. Our Seattle criminal defense lawyers have the skill and commitment that makes all the difference in felony cases. Our attorneys will fight tooth and nail for you at every step of your case. Contact us now to get the legal help you deserve!