Blake Refund Bureau assists with refunds of court fines

Washington state has created an online reimbursement center for court-ordered fines or costs paid in connection with drug possession convictions, found to be unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court in State v. Blake.

Now accessible at, the Blake Refund Bureau was developed by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) in collaboration with courts serving all 39 Washington counties and 112 separate municipalities. Individuals convicted of simple drug possession, cannabis possession and paraphernalia convictions between 1971 and 2021 can now receive qualifying financial reimbursements via the Bureau’s self-guided, centralized portal.

In 2021, the Washington Supreme Court found the legal statutes that criminalized drug possession were unconstitutional and void because they did not require intent, or knowledge of possession — a due process violation of both state and federal constitutions. As a result of this decision, known as State v. Blake, any Blake-related convictions qualify to be vacated and removed from one's criminal record, and any legal financial obligations (LFOs) paid as a result qualify for financial reimbursement.

To administer these reimbursements statewide, the Washington State Legislature determined a centralized bureau would be instrumental for public accessibility, and help to offset costs to courts, prosecutors and defense attorneys. It was launched in July 2023.

With $47 million earmarked towards possession charge vacations, sentencing adjustments, and an additional $51 million set aside for paid LFO refunds, AOC was appointed the task of developing the Blake Refund Bureau in collaboration with local courts and county clerks, public defenders, prosecutors, impacted individuals, advocacy groups and other stakeholders.

This work is unprecedented, with no related instances of a state issuing hundreds of thousands of vacations and refunds at one time. The State v Blake ruling impacts an estimated more than 200,000 felony drug possession charges dating back to the 1970s and an estimated additional 125,000 misdemeanor marijuana charges eligible for vacation.

Individuals can apply online via the Blake Refund Bureau portal, or apply via mail. Applicants must have their name, case number and proof of ID with picture prior to applying. Additionally, optional fields are available to upload further identifying information including proof of name change, divorce decree, international address, and power of attorney if filing for someone else.

Refund progress tracking, a help forum and how-to video are available to help guide users through the online application process. To help people understand their rights, vacate their records and learn about qualifying LFO and third party reimbursements, the Blake Refund Bureau offers resources and a free Blake hotline courtesy of Washington State Office of Public Defense.

Last Updated: 10/04/2023 03:34 PM

Share This Page...

Chelan County Calendar

Upcoming events and schedules at the county!

  • 20
    Dec 2023
    01:00 PM - 03:00 PM

    Hearing Examiner - December 20, 2023

    Posted by: Community Development

    By Zoom Video Conference
  • 20
    Dec 2023
    06:00 PM - 08:00 PM

    Planning Commission - December 20, 2023

    Posted by: Community Development

    400 Douglas Street
  • 12
    Dec 2023
    01:30 PM - 03:00 PM

    Chelan County Noxious Weed Control Board: Dec 12, 2023

    Posted by: Noxious Weed Control Board

    2023 fourth quarter meeting of the Chelan County Noxious Weed Control Board

    Conference room