Post-Conviction Relief! Health and Safety Code § 11351.5 “Possession for Sale of Cocaine” Felony Offense Vacated Per Penal Code § 1473.7 Motion and Charge Renegotiated to an Immigration Neutral Plea!

Recently, in Los Angeles County at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Courthouse our office was successful at litigating a Penal Code section 1473.7 motion arguing that our client did not meaningfully understand and knowingly accept the immigration consequences that would result from his 1993 Health and Safety Code section 11351.5, “Possession for Sale of Cocaine” felony offense.

In 1993, our client pled guilty to the Health and Safety Code section 11351.5 offense and was sentenced to serve 180 days in the county jail. At the time that our client pled, he was unaware that by pleading to this offense he was subjecting himself to mandatory and permanent deportation, denial of naturalization, and exclusion from admission. Our client was not aware that the offense he was pleading to was a categorical crime involving controlled substances which would cause permanent and mandatory negative immigration consequences. After being advised by his immigration attorney of the serious and dire immigration consequences resulting from his conviction, the client retained our office to seek post-conviction relief on his behalf.

After investigating and evaluating the case, we believed that our client had a meritorious motion pursuant to Penal Code section 1473.7 to seek to vacate the offense. According to the transcript of the plea proceedings for this matter, our client was only advised at the time of his plea that his plea “can” result in his deportation, denial of citizenship, amnesty, or reentry into the United States. However, according to subsequent appellate court decisions on the issue, our client should have been advised of the accurate immigration consequences that would result from pleading to this offense – i.e., permanent and mandatory deportation, denial of naturalization, and exclusion from admission. Thus, we filed the Penal Code section 1473.7 motion to vacate the conviction arguing that, based on this advisement, our client failed to meaningfully understand and knowingly accept the immigration consequences of his plea.

The prosecution agreed to submit on the motion and allow our client to plea to a Penal Code section 32, “Accessory After the Fact” offense.

This is a great result for our client and he will no longer suffer adverse immigration consequences as a result of his 1993 plea and conviction!

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