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Post Conviction Relief

If you have already been convicted of a crime and now it is causing you unforeseen problems, you may be eligible for post-conviction relief. Motions to vacate or modify a plea or sentence, expungement petitions, petitions for certificates of rehabilitation, motions to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor, motions to seal and destroy and more. Dignity law group has represented many people facing deportation proceedings as a result of their prior convictions. We have successfully had felonies deemed misdemeanors, pleas vacated for ineffective assistance of counsel, pleas vacated for failure to explain immigration consequences, motions for a finding of factual innocence and more. We have a unique approach to post conviction relief which have yielded great results for our clients. Do not hesitate to contact us should you, or a friend or loved one, need relief from an old conviction.

What is post conviction relief?

Post-conviction relief is legal speak for after-the-conviction motions/appeals or other that may include request for release, request for new trial new trial, modification of sentence, and other types of relief as may be proper and just. After the filing of a post-conviction legal relief, the court hearing the matter may also make orders to the relief granted, concerning such matters as rearraignment, retrial, custody and release on security.

The term may refer to a law or court rule that allows a collateral challenge to a judgment of conviction which has otherwise become final in the normal appellate review process. Post-conviction relief is governed by federal and state laws, which vary by state, and may be used to preclude state or federal habeas corpus.

Penal Code Section 1473.7 Motions

Last year California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law relief specifically for persons facing deportation because of a criminal conviction for which the person was not properly informed. Throughout the 1980s, and 1990s there were often failures in properly advising of the collateral immigration consequences to those entering plea bargains.

PC 1473.7 reads as follows:

(a) A person no longer imprisoned or restrained may prosecute a motion to vacate a conviction or sentence for either of the following reasons:

  1. The conviction or sentence is legally invalid due to a prejudicial error damaging the moving party’s ability to meaningfully understand, defend against, or knowingly accept the actual or potential adverse immigration consequences of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere.
  2. Newly discovered evidence of actual innocence exists that requires vacation of the conviction or sentence as a matter of law or in the interests of justice.

(b) A motion pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) shall be filed with reasonable diligence after the later of the following:

  1. The date the moving party receives a notice to appear in immigration court or other notice from immigration authorities that asserts the conviction or sentence as a basis for removal.
  2. The date a removal order against the moving party, based on the existence of the conviction or sentence, becomes final.

(c) A motion pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) shall be filed without undue delay from the date the moving party discovered, or could have discovered with the exercise of due diligence, the evidence that provides a basis for relief under this section.

(d) All motions shall be entitled to a hearing. At the request of the moving party, the court may hold the hearing without the personal presence of the moving party if counsel for the moving party is present and the court finds good cause as to why the moving party cannot be present.

(e) When ruling on the motion:

  1. The court shall grant the motion to vacate the conviction or sentence if the moving party establishes, by a preponderance of the evidence the existence of any of the grounds for relief specified in subdivision (a).
  2. In granting or denying the motion, the court shall specify the basis for its conclusion.
  3. If the court grants the motion to vacate a conviction or sentence obtained through a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, the court shall allow the moving party to withdraw the plea.

(f) An order granting or denying the motion is appealable under subdivision (b) of Section 1237 as an order after judgment affecting the substantial rights of a party.

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