Post-Conviction Relief! Penal Code § 487H(a) “Grand Theft of Cargo Over $950” Felony Offense Vacated Per Penal Code § 1473.7 Motion and Charge Completely Dismissed

Recently, at the Van Nuys Courthouse in Los Angeles County, Attorney Steve Escovar was able to successfully litigate a post-conviction Penal Code section 1473.7 Motion to vacate our client’s Penal Code section 487H(a), “Grand Theft of Cargo Over $950” conviction from 1994 in which our client was sentenced to serve 365 days in the county jail.

Subsequent to his plea in this matter, our client’s offense was reduced to a misdemeanor pursuant to Penal Code section 17(b). Our client was also granted relief pursuant to Penal Code section 18.5, modifying his jail sentence from 365 days to 364 days. However, despite this post-conviction relief, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services rendered a decision that our client was not eligible for naturalization because he had been convicted of an “aggravated felony” and is thus permanently barred from establishing good moral character. Pursuant to 8 U.S.C. section 1101(a)(43)(G), a conviction of a theft offense or burglary offense for which the term of imprisonment is at least one year (365 days) is deemed an aggravated felony for federal immigration purposes.

Given the immigration consequences that our client was still suffering from as a result of his sentence in this matter, we filed a motion pursuant to Penal Code section 1473.7 to vacate his plea. In the motion, we argued that our client should have been properly advised that his Penal Code section 487H(a) conviction with a sentence of 365 days in the county jail would bar him from ever establishing good moral character and would render him permanently ineligible to naturalize as a United States citizen. Further, we argued that our client should have been advised of the existence of available alternative sentence agreements, such as a negotiated sentence of 364, waiving back time.

At the final hearing on the motion, the court granted our motion and the court moved to dismiss the offense pursuant to Penal Code section 1385, “in the interests of justice.

This is a great result for our client and he can now move forward with seeking naturalization!

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