What is a Petition Pursuant to Penal Code section 236.14?

A defendant may file a petition pursuant to PC § 236.14 requesting to vacate a conviction for any nonviolent offense that the defendant committed while he or she was the victim of human trafficking.

In order to be granted relief under this section, the petitioner generally must establish by clear and convincing evidence that the conviction was the direct result of being a victim of human trafficking. This petition is submitted under penalty of perjury and must describe evidence that the petitioner (1) was the victim of human trafficking and (2) the conviction was the direct result of being a victim of human trafficking.

According to subdivision (g) of PC § 236.14, the Court must make the following findings in order to vacate the conviction and expunge the arrests:

o Petitioner was victim of human trafficking at time offense committed.

o Commission of the crime was a direct result of being a victim of human trafficking

o Victim is engaged in a good faith effort to distance herself from human trafficking scheme

o It is in the best interest of the petitioner and in the interests of justice.

Generally, if no opposition is filed by the prosecution then the court shall deem the petition unopposed and may grant the petition.

There is a due diligence requirement to seeking relief under this section. A petition generally must be made within a reasonable time after either: (1) the person ceased to be a victim of human trafficking or (2) within a reasonable time after the petitioner has sought services for being a victim of human trafficking.

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