Bench Warrant Recalled and Case Dismissed Pursuant to Penal Code section 1385 in the Interests of Justice for a Misdemeanor Health and Safety Code section 11550(a) (“Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance”)!

Recently at the Tulare Courthouse in Tulare County I was able to negotiate to a Penal Code Section 1385 dismissal in the interests of justice for our client charged with one misdemeanor count of Health and Safety Code section 11550(a), “under the influence of a controlled substance.”

Criminal charges were originally filed against our client in this matter in 2006. When our client hired our office, he had an outstanding bench warrant for a failure to appear on his matter and was facing termination from the Deferred Entry of Judgment (“DEJ”) program. Our client had previously hired another private attorney to assist in his matter after he failed to comply with the conditions of DEJ and a bench warrant had issued. Our client was provided a letter in 2013 by his former private defense counsel inaccurately indicating that his case was dismissed. However, unbeknownst to our client, he was still required to complete the drug program pursuant to Penal Code section 1000.3 and a bench warrant issued for his failure to comply.

Our client only became aware of the outstanding bench warrant when he hired immigration counsel to pursue immigration relief. The bench warrant and the charge against our client were causing him immigration prejudice.

Based on the multiple failures to appear in this matter and the fact that a bench warrant had issued, we had our client enroll in a drug education program as a show of good faith. At the first appearance on the case, we provided the prosecution with an equities package which included our client’s progress in the drug education program and we were able to withdraw the bench warrant without our client’s appearance, arrest or our client having to pay bail.

Upon negotiation with the court and the prosecution, the parties agreed to reinstate our client in the DEJ program and allow him to finish the drug education program he had enrolled in.

At the final court hearing on the matter, we submitted proof of completion of the drug education program and the court agreed to dismiss the charges pursuant to Penal Code section 1385. Typically, after successful completion of DEJ the charges are dismissed per Penal Code section 1000, which is not beneficial for immigration purposes. However, a charge dismissed pursuant to Penal Code section 1385 cannot be considered as a conviction for immigration purposes and is a great resolution for a client seeking immigration relief.

With this result, our client will no longer face immigration prejudice as a result of the charge! This is a great result!


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