What is Post Conviction Relief?
Post-conviction relief refers to the legal process whereby a person or their attorney petitions a court, requesting a reversal of a prior conviction or a modification of a sentence. If the court grants the person’s request, it will vacate the prior conviction or modify the sentence. At Rodriguez Law Firm, our criminal defense attorney has successfully helped many clients reverse their conviction or modify their sentence. Whether you were convicted of domestic violence or another crime, we're here to help.
An increasing number of legal aliens and undocumented immigrants with felony or misdemeanor convictions are being denied the ability to acquire U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residency due to a prior conviction. Many more of them are being deported by immigration authorities if their conviction is considered an aggravated felony or a crime of moral turpitude.
If you pleaded guilty to a crime that is being used by immigration officials to deny your application for U.S. citizenship or claim that you are deportable because you have a conviction for an aggravated felony or a crime of moral turpitude, then call us.
Our Approach to Immigrant Post-Conviction Relief
We can help lawful permanent residents and undocumented aliens reverse a past conviction if they pleaded guilty without knowing that the conviction will make them deportable, not be allowed re-entry to the United States, or not be able to become a U.S. citizen.
If hired, we begin by collecting and reviewing court records and court transcripts of the proceedings. We can interview witnesses and the former defense attorney so that we can assess if your 6th Amendment rights to effective assistance of counsel were violated. Once we complete our investigation, and if the information supports the basis for the motion, we can file the appropriate type of motion to vacate the criminal convictions or modify the sentence.
The leading cases in California for those interested in reversing a conviction have been codified under Penal Code sections 1473.7 or 1016.5. These codes require that the petitioner prove that his or her attorney or the court did not correctly advise them of the immigration consequences before they pleaded guilty.
There are many types of post-conviction relief, including:
- 1473.7 Motion to vacate conviction – Focus on Attorney misadvised
- 1016.5 Motion to vacate conviction – Focus on Court misadvised
- 18.5 Motion to modify sentence
- 1203.4 Expungement - Dismiss charges
- 17(b) Reduce felony to a misdemeanor
- Habeas Corpus motion
- Motion for New Trial
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
We’ve heard from many immigrant clients that their initial defense lawyer never told them the crime they pleaded guilty to will be used to deport them, deny them the ability to return to the United States, or never be able to become a U.S. citizen. Unfortunately, the more post-conviction cases we handle, the more we discover that some defense attorneys don’t ask their clients if they are an immigrant before they plead guilty.
The problem is that many criminal lawyers are not familiar with immigration laws and are unable to properly advise a noncitizen client on if the crime will have adverse immigration consequences. Fortunately, there has been a cluster of Supreme Court cases that allows a noncitizen defendant to file what is commonly called a Padilla motion, which is based on the violation of the defendant’s 6th Amendment rights.
If you are currently charged with a crime and you are not a U.S. citizen, then you should call us before you plead guilty. Our office has provided legal advice to many noncitizen defendants or their attorneys before accepting a plea deal. Our goal is to provide the correct information that gives you or your defense attorney the opportunity to make a counter offer that does not make you deportable. You can rely on our post-conviction relief lawyer in San Diego for well-informed advice and strong representation.
If you already pleaded guilty to a crime and it is being used to deport you or prevent you from becoming a U.S. citizen, then call us at (619) 332-1703 to schedule a consultation where we can discuss your eligibility for post-conviction relief.
“I could not have asked for a better group of professionals to work with to get us through to the next stage in the process we cannot thank you enough.” - RK & EL
“Rodriguez law firm made it possible they won my case. Thank you for your hard work” - Jose Ruiz