Those individuals convicted of a crime in California have significant options in the form of a petition for post-conviction relief. Among other valuable forms of relief, a post-conviction petition may allow a person to reverse a conviction or reduce a sentence. While the criminal justice system in California is designed to prosecute offenders for engaging in criminal conduct, it must also protect the rights of not only the accused but the convicted. When the system fails, a petition for post-conviction relief may remedy the situation.
Post-conviction relief may provide benefits that may help prevent a deportation, dismiss a conviction, or even certify an individual as having been rehabilitated. A post-conviction attorney may gather a criminal record, investigate a defendant’s rights under the law, and file the necessary paperwork to begin the process that is most beneficial to a former defendant.
A post-conviction petition requests a specific remedy from the court, usually a reversal of a criminal conviction, a release from prison, or a reduction in a jail or prison sentence. There are several different types of post-conviction relief available to convicted defendants in California such as expungements of a criminal record under California Penal Code §1203.4 and clearing a criminal record after completing a drug treatment diversionary program under CA Penal Code §1203.43.
Defendants may also petition the court for early termination of probation or a certificate of rehabilitation. The latter is an option when an individual convicted of a crime has served some amount of time in state prison, which nullifies the ability to get the underlying conviction expunged. California Penal Code § 4852.01 allows former defendants to petition the court for a certificate of rehabilitation. This is a strong official endorsement from the court showing that a defendant’s criminal history is in the past and that he or she is now a valued and productive member of society.
Also, certain acts of California legislation such as Senate Bill 1437 and Assembly Bill 2942 allow defendants to have convictions vacated and sentences reduced. Proposition 47 reclassified many theft and drug cases from felonies to misdemeanors. Prop 64 decriminalized marijuana possession and allows defendants formerly convicted of these offenses to expunge their criminal records.
Filing a petition for post-conviction relief allows former defendants the opportunity to present more evidence or raise additional issues in a case after a judgment has already been rendered. The purpose is to obtain a fair resolution in a defendant’s case that removes or remedies the infringement of any of the defendant’s constitutional rights. Upon filing a petition for post-conviction relief, the judge may grant the petition and order a new trial, modify the sentence, or order some other form of relief for the defendant.
There are alternative forms of recovery available to those accused of a crime in California. It is important to determine their applicability to your criminal matter. John Patrick Dolan has over forty years of experience working to help his clients obtain the best resolution possible when freedom and reputation are at stake. The attorneys at the Dolan Law Offices are experienced in helping California residents clear their criminal records. Call us today at (760) 775-3739 or find out more online here.