I represented a client in the Norwalk Superior Courthouse who was charged
with two counts of Perjury (violations of Penal Code section 118). One
count related to the false information he gave several years ago to the
DMV when he used another person's information to obtain a California
Driver's license. The other count was for denying that he had previously
applied for a license when he recently tried to get a license using his
real name. A Penal Code section 118 violation is a straight felony, that
is, it cannot be reduced to a misdemeanor and it has severe immigration
consequences. (e.g. deportation, exclusion and denial of naturalization).
Even though the false statements to the DMV occurred years ago, on Fraud
and Perjury type offenses, the Statute of Limitation is tolled (stayed)
until the conduct is discovered. Then it begins to run. The prosecutor
was seeking a conviction for a violation of Penal Code section 118 with
probation and 90 days of jail. This would cause my client to lose his
job and also result in his deportation. This would have, clearly, been
a disastrous and destructive result.
I presented the Head Deputy DA our mitigation packet, which included letters
of recommendation, proof of employment, proof of Lawful Permanent Residence
status, and a letter from immigration counsel identifying an immigration
"safe" plea. The DA reviewed and considered our packet and agreed
to a plea bargain for a violation of Penal Code section 529(a)(3) with
probation and No Jail. This charge is a "wobbler" and can later
be reduced to a misdemeanor.
This is an example of Penal Code section 1016.3 at work . This is the new
law that states a prosecutor is required to consider the immigration consequences
as part of the plea bargain process. In addition, fortunately, the DA
was professional and compassionate.
This case was another great result where strong advocacy lead to a just
result and it kept a father employed and unified with his family. It is
a privilege to be an attorney and have the opportunity to make a difference
in the lives of our clients and their families.