Even if you have already been convicted of a crime, there are still legal avenues that may be available to you to help alleviate some of the negative consequences that result from your conviction. To be successful in convincing a judge to grant any post-conviction relief, you will need to present convincing evidence that you are entitled to, or should be granted the relief requested. Our firm's attorney has nearly 20 years of experience in petitioning the court for post-conviction relief and can place you in the best position possible to have your request granted.
We provide post-conviction services including:
- Motions to Modify Probation
- Motions to Terminate Probation Early
- Motion to Reduce Felony Wobblers to Misdemeanor Convictions
- Sealing Arrest Records
If you are currently on probation, you are subject to specific terms and conditions of that probation that were ordered by the court at sentencing. Most judges and prosecutors will say that a receiving grant of probation is an opportunity not to serve out your sentence in jail or prison. If you are on Formal or Supervised Felony Probation, chances are you have conditions of probation that severely monitor and control your day-to-day life.
In some cases the terms and conditions of probation are affecting your life in manner that is disproportionate to other persons convicted of the same or similar crime. If so, we can petition the court on your behalf to modify or change those conditions.
One possible reason to seek modification is that a term or condition of probation is preventing you from getting, maintaining, or being promoted at work. Another might be that the term or condition prevents you from using medications, including medical marijuana.
Because judges and prosecutors feel you've already received leniency at sentencing for having received probation, these motions demand an attention to detail such that your request is presented in a manner that is convincing that there truly is a need to change the terms and conditions of your probation.
No matter the specific term or condition of probation is disproportionately affecting you, our attorney may be able to help alleviate it. Come in today for a consultation.
Terminate Probation Early
In some instances, the court may consider terminating your probation successfully prior to the end date of your probationary period.
In order to have any real chance of success in such a motion, you will need legal counsel to petition the court citing the appropriate law and circumstances why early termination of your probation is appropriate, necessary, and in the interests of justice. The court will require verifications that you've been in substantial compliance with your probation to date, that you've completed of at least 1/3 to 1/2 of your term of probation, and written proof that you have fulfilled all the obligations placed on you at the time you were sentenced (i.e. fines, fees, community service work, jail time, counseling classes, drug treatment, etc..).
Even if all of the above conditions are met, the court generally does not let a person off probation early unless there is a strong and compelling reason to do so that is backed up with real evidence supporting for that reason.
In January 2021, AB 1950 took effect and limited probation in misdemeanors to one year and felonies to two years. This law has been interpreted to be retroactive such that you can file to terminate or shorten probation if you were sentenced prior to January 1, 2021. (Note: some counties have been resistent to apply this law retroactively but likely will fall into line). There are exceptions in this law for code sections that explicitly require a longer period of probation (such as domestic violence, child abuse/endangerment and DUIs [noting however, that a wet reckless offense should be a one year period of probation]). There are also exceptions where the crime is a serious violent felony pursuant to Penal Code 667.5(b)/(c) or where the person is required to register as a sex offender pursuant to Penal Code 290.
Come in today to discuss your matter with our skilled attorney who can advise you on whether filing a motion to terminate probation early is right for you.
REDUCE FELONY 'WOBBLER' TO A MISDEMEANOR
A felony wobbler is a crime that could have been charged by the prosecutor as a felony or a misdemeanor. There numerous crimes that are classified as felony wobbler offenses including some serious and violent felony convictions. If you were convicted of a felony wobbler offense, you may be eligible to have your felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor conviction. If you are unsure if felony conviction is a wobbler offense, we will help determine that for you without charge.
Meet with our attorney and allow him to determine if you are eligible! Having your felony reduced to a misdemeanor is extraordinary relief under the law and can provide numerous short and long-term benefits. For instance, under California law, you can once again possess a firearm (assuming there are no other legal prohibitions in your case). You can legally write on job applications (with limited exceptions) that you have never been convicted of a felony. If your offense was strike offense under the three strikes law, it can no longer be used against you as a prior strike in the future.
Call us today for a free case evaluation to determine if you are eligible for this extraordinary relief from a felony conviction.
Not all criminal convictions need to lead to a lifetime criminal record. In some cases, the mark on your record can be virtually erased through an official and permanent sealing known as expungement. In a day and age where potential employers, those leasing a home, and the like, have taken to conducting thorough background checks on future employees and residents, having one or more marks on your criminal record could mean the difference between getting the job or house you're interested in and not. Therefore, having your criminal record expunged under California Penal Code 1203.4 PC is quickly becoming the go-to solution for past convicts whose records are no longer a reflection of their current behaviors and attitudes.
ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR EXPUNGEMENT?
Expungement is not available for everyone. Certain conditions must be in place before the official sealing of one's record will be legally approved. Specifically, former persons who were criminally convicted must be able to show that they successfully completed probation and are not currently facing any additional criminal offenses; this includes being on probation for an offense or serving an official sentence for an offense. Crucial to the stipulations of an expungement is the completion of a probationary period. In fact, it is only those individuals who were granted permission to complete their sentencing on probation that will be given the option to have their criminal record expunged.
Successfully expunging your criminal record requires that you have completed in full the terms of your probation. Failure to comply with even one aspect of your probation can greatly affect your consideration for expungement. Therefore, you must be able to show that your probation was fulfilled satisfactorily: fines must have been paid in full, restitution must have been met entirely, counseling programs must have been completed to the end and community service hours must have been logged according to the hours you were required to invest.
BENEFITS OF EXPUNGEMENT
Without expunging your criminal record you could be subjected to a number of social and legal repercussions, even years after your crime was committed. Formally having your record sealed and virtually hidden from prying eyes, you will be able to enjoy a life free from the restraints, biases and prejudices that are typically associated with persons that have a criminal past.
Included in the benefits provided to those who expunge their criminal record are:
- The ability to more easily secure employment; according to state law, employers cannot use discriminatory means to fire or resist hiring an employee that was arrested but not convicted, nor are they permitted to make inquiries on a past arrest that did not result in conviction.
- The ability to more easily obtain a state professional license
- The potential ability to avoid certain consequences such as deportation that are connected to immigration issues
- The ability to remain credible in the court of law when called upon to act as a witness
APPLICATION AND OBTAINMENT OF AN EXPUNGEMENT
Applying for expungement of your criminal record requires that you first meet the conditions denoted above; when these have been established as complete you may then permissibly petition the court for expungement of your criminal record. This is a process that cannot begin until you have completed with totality the period of your probation. The process of expunging a record is subject to the court and jurisdiction under which it is completed. Generally, you should allot one to two months for the process to be completed; however, the procedures involved can be expedited in certain circumstances, particularly if you are looking for employment.
The expungement process can include several steps, but none of these require you to appear in court. Generally, the state's expungement process calls for the appearance of a legal professional, i.e. your attorney, to appear on your behalf. This is the case in all stages of the legal proceedings involved in your expungement, making it all the more necessary to ensure that you have acquired an attorney who will reliably speak on your behalf and represent your case in the most favorable light possible. When the process has been successfully completed in its entirety, you will no longer need to worry about a past criminal record. In fact, you can solidly answer "no" to anyone who questions if you have a criminal history.
RELIEF FROM DUTY TO REGISTER AS A SEX OFFENDER PC 290
Starting in mid 2021, there will be a three teir registration system in place for those who are ordered to register pursuant to Penal Code 290. Tier 1 registrants are required to register for 10 years. Tier 2 regitrants are required to register for 20 years. Tier 3 registrants are required to register for life. If you fall into Tier 1 or Tier 2, and have completed your peroid of registration based on a conviction 10 or 20 years in the past, you may be eligible now to file to the court for relief. Relief from the court may or may not affect Megan's Law reporting depending on your particular case.
SEALING YOUR ARREST RECORD
There are two main avenues to seal your record of arrest where there is no criminal complaint filed or no conviction obtained (i.e. dismissal after filing).
Penal Code 851.8 allows for a motion to the court asking for a finding of factual innocence. Prior to filing, a petition for factual innocence should be served on the arresting law enforcement agency and the District Attorney in the county where the arrest occurred (the motion for factual innocence cannot be filed until at least 60 days after serving the petition).
The second avenue to seal your arrest record is a petition to the court pursuant to Penal Code 851.91 which does not require a finding of factual innocence. Penal Code 851.91, which went into effect in 2018, will be more inclusive on the number of persons that are eligible compared to PC 851.8, and in some cases, the relief is mandatory.
Make an appointment today to talk with our experienced attorney to discuss petitioning the court for an expungement of your conviction.
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