A client recently hired our office to assist her in obtaining post-conviction relief. Our client had two separate cases from 1997 and 1999 in which she was convicted of violating Penal Code § 484(a) (Petty Theft), misdemeanor offenses. When our client hired our office, she was in deportation proceedings and was at risk of being deported back to China.
In our Penal Code section 1473.7 motion, we argued that our client failed to meaningfully understand the immigration consequences of her conviction because she was not informed that the Penal Code § 484(a) offense was a crime involving moral turpitude and, as such, she would face deportation, denial of naturalization and exclusion from admission to the United States. We argued that had our client meaningfully understood the certainty of the immigration consequences she faced, she would have vigorously sought an immigration safe offense or taken her case to trial.
At the first appearance on our motion, the court indicated that it would like more information on the prejudice our client was suffering from the offense. Therefore, our office submitted supplemental points clearly outlining that: (1) at the time of the plea there was no attempt to defend against the immigration consequences of the plea, (2) the current immigration prejudice our client was suffering as a result of the offense, (3) the significant reasons our client had at the time of the plea to avoid potential immigration consequences, and (4) the potential loss our client would suffer if the relief is not granted.
At the next hearing on the motion, we were able to negotiate with the prosecution to reduce the offenses in both cases to infractions.
With this result, it is our belief that our client will no longer be subject to deportation as a result of these convictions! Great result!
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