When the Washington State Supreme Court, in State v. Blake, invalidated ever drug possession conviction ever because the law was illegal, they also required that the courts refund people any legal financial obligations they may have paid under the unfair drug statues they were convicted under. Hi my name is attorney Stefanie Dorn, I’m an expungement lawyer in Washington, and I almost didn’t believe it either until my client got their first check in the mail with a full refund for all the legal financial obligations they have paid.
It is a progressive area of law; it is getting much more progressive. People have paid thousands and thousands of dollars, it’s amazing the amount of court fees that are associated with any criminal charge, and the courts have specifically allocated money to this, and the process can even pay for itself sometimes. So, if you have any questions or would like to talk more about a refund of your legal financial obligations, please give my office a call. Thank you.
State v. Blake is a big game changer out here in Washington State because it is taking all of the convictions that have ever happened, since the 70s and all that, on possession of drug cases and saying that this law that it was charged under is a bad invalid law and so therefore these convictions cannot stand. This came because a woman was convicted for having methamphetamine in her pants pockets, but the pants weren’t hers. She had borrowed them, her friend got them at a thrift store.
The Court said we can’t punish unknowing possession, that’s not fair that she’s responsible for something that she didn’t even know was in her pocket. So, we have to look at this law and since it doesn’t have an intent element, that means that none of the convictions under this law or valid.
So, what does this mean? Does this mean they are going to throw them all out? They probably should. But instead what they’re doing is coming up procedures and processes and you generally need to work with the courts to get the case off of your record. Since I made this video, some prosecutor’s office, such as King County, are even petitioning the court on behalf of the defendants. They have streamlined the process and it is much simpler than a regular vacate.
Courts are also working to get people back any legal financial obligations they have paid on those drug cases. So, it’s a very progressive area law, there is a lot of movement, and I would be happy to help you with it.