Post-Conviction Relief! Penal Code section 484(a) “Petty Theft” Offense Vacated Per Penal Code § 1473.7 Motion and Re-Negotiated to Immigration Neutral Plea!

Recently, in Los Angeles County at the Alhambra Courthouse our office successfully litigated a Penal Code § 1473.7 motion arguing that our client failed to meaningfully understand the immigration consequences that would result from his 1996 Penal Code section 484(a), “Petty Theft” conviction.

Our client hired our office to attempt to seek post-conviction relief on his behalf. Our client is a citizen of the United Kingdom and, because of his conviction in this case to a crime involving moral turpitude, he is unable to naturalize as a United States citizen or re-enter the United States if he was to leave the country.

The court file and a transcript of the plea for this matter were destroyed and unavailable. Therefore, the only record of the conviction was the court docket that purported that our client was advised that the conviction may cause deportation, denial of naturalization, and exclusion from admission. However, we argued that our client did not knowingly defend against the immigration conviction because he was not aware, or advised, that he could seek to negotiate to alternative reasonable dispositions such as Penal Code section 602.

Prior to filing our motion making the above argument, our office met with the prosecution and presented an equities package on behalf of our client detailing his dedication to this work and the contributions he makes to society. The prosecution stated that they would not oppose our motion and would allow our client to re-plea to the Penal Code section 602, trespassing offense that was immigration neutral, upon vacatur of the petty theft conviction.

At the hearing on the motion the court was not initially inclined to grant the motion given that the docket stated that our client was advised “may” regarding the immigration consequences of the offense. However, after legal argument and discussion about the legislative intent of the statute, the court granted the motion and our client re-pled to the Penal Code section 602 offense.

This is an amazing result for our client and will allow our client to move forward with his immigration goals!

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