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Riverside Expungement Lawyer

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When someone is convicted of a serious crime, the subsequent punishment and fallout can be life-altering. Felony convictions can jeopardize many parts of a person’s life, from their reputation and family situation to their career and life savings. Even after a convicted criminal has carried out their sentence and ostensibly paid their court-ordered debt to society, they may find that the specter of their conviction hangs over them, leaving them unable to get a job, form successful relationships, or re-enter their community in a meaningful way. This is to say nothing of the lifelong practical consequences of felony convictions, like losing your right to vote or purchase firearms.

For these and many other reasons, people convicted of serious crimes often seek some form of post-conviction relief. Post-conviction relief is a special subset of legal strategies that aims to somehow alter a felony, or the record of a felony, after a conviction has already been made. Some of the most common forms of post-conviction relief include:

  • Dismissal. A case can be dismissed for many reasons, often having to do with procedural errors by prosecutors or court officials. Once a case has been tossed out of court, the charges are dropped, and the case can never be re-tried or re-opened, except under very rare conditions.
  • Sealing of records. Sometimes post-conviction relief can take the form of records being sealed. This restores the convict’s rights and removes all record of the conviction from the public view. The records are retained by the authorities, only to be reopened under very specific and unlikely circumstances.
  • Expungement. Expunging a case works a lot like sealing it, except the records are destroyed completely. All of the defendant’s lost privileges, such as voting rights, are restored, and it becomes as though the case never occurred at all.
  • Vacating. When a conviction is vacated, the defendant’s plea is withdrawn, but the case does not disappear or get thrown out of court. Vacating a case moves it back to the point of arraignment so that the defendant can enter a new plea and attempt a different defense strategy. Vacating a case is only available under specific circumstances, such as a defendant who did not realize the immigration implications of their plea, or someone who was convicted of a crime that they committed while they were a victim of human trafficking.
  • Reduced sentencing. There are various avenues by which a convicted criminal might get their sentence reduced. A well-known reason for criminal sentences being reduced is a convict’s good behavior while incarcerated. However, a qualified attorney can help you file a motion for re-sentencing and argue for reduced jail time or fines on other grounds, such as a belief that the judge did not abide by sentencing guidelines.
  • Appeals. When you disagree with the outcome of a trial or the denial of a motion, you have the legal right to appeal. The appeals process is a powerful legal tool by which incorrect decision making by officials in lower courts can be reversed or corrected by taking the matter to a court with a higher authority.

Riverside Expungement Lawyer

Post-Conviction Relief: Your Conviction Is Not the End

There is something dramatic and final about hearing a judge’s gavel drop to the desktop after naming someone guilty of a crime. When you witness this from the defendant’s side of the courtroom, it can be absolutely devastating. While it is natural to feel down in these circumstances, it is important to remember that sometimes your legal battle is only beginning once you’ve been officially convicted and sentenced.

Sometimes people mistakenly believe that they can “beat the system” and get out of criminal charges by representing themselves. Often, these defendants believe that their innocence alone will protect them from any possibility of being convicted of a crime, but unfortunately, the legal system does not always work at 100% efficiency. An innocent person convicted of a crime they did not commit might feel blindsided, attacked, and alone, but it is important to know that it’s never too late to reach out to a qualified attorney and begin the process of correcting a wrongful conviction.

Overturning a conviction or reducing a sentence can involve a tedious and difficult legal battle, but you and your loved ones deserve real justice. The professionals at The U.S. Law Center can help you seek it, regardless of your background or current immigration status. You can start the process by reaching out to our high-powered attorneys for a consultation. We will then proceed with developing the best legal strategy for your specific circumstances, whether you need to revoke a bad plea you just made in a panic, or you want to file a motion to have a mis-tried case thrown out of court completely.

Post-conviction relief can come into play in all types of legal cases. Some of the most common reasons a convicted criminal might seek post-conviction relief include:

  • The discovery of new evidence. This facet of post-conviction relief has been in the news repeatedly in recent years as DNA evidence has now repeatedly overturned decades-old murder convictions. New evidence does not need to be as dramatic as that, however. The identification of new witnesses or more mundane pieces of evidence can be enough to have a case reopened.
  • Changing laws. Someone convicted for a marijuana offense, for example, might argue that a harsh sentence should be reduced because the state they live in now has legal recreational cannabis sales. The laws surrounding post-conviction relief itself can also change from time to time, leading to spikes in convicted criminals attempting to have cases reopened.
  • Wrong plea. Sometimes, especially if a defendant first goes to court with the intention of representing themselves, an incorrect plea can be entered into the record. If someone did not understand the consequences of their plea or can prove that it was made under duress or subject to coercion, the case may be vacated and re-tried from the point of arraignment.
  • Court wrongdoing. If you and your attorney can prove that the trial was subject to procedural errors or malfeasance by court officials, the entire case can be thrown out of court.expungement attorney riverside

FAQs About Riverside, CA Expungement Laws

What is post-conviction record relief in California?

Post-conviction relief in California can take several forms, but there is no true felony expungement available in the state. This means California felonies will typically always remain on record somewhere, even if you successfully have the sentence reduced, get the original plea vacated, or even manage to have the conviction overturned entirely later.

What is the most common type of post-conviction relief?

The most sought form of post-conviction relief is also one of the simplest — a motion for re-sentencing. This is exactly what it sounds like. Your attorney will file a motion with the court to have your sentence thrown out and changed, reduced, or eliminated. This can be done as a matter of principle when a sentence is believed to be inappropriate, or it can be done in response to changing circumstances like your health or the availability of new evidence.

How do you get a felony expunged in Riverside County?

The process for getting a case re-opened and amended in Riverside County is the same as it is throughout the rest of California. This typically begins with your lawyer filing a motion to have a case vacated or otherwise re-opened. The specific details of this motion will depend on the specific circumstance of your case, such as the charges, where the legal proceedings are currently at, and why you believe your case should be reopened or changed. Note that there is no such thing as true felony “expungement” in California, but other legal tools for cleaning your record are available.

Can you do a self-expungement in California?

As with many other legal procedures, you can technically request a case be re-opened in California without an attorney, but your chances of success will suffer without proper legal representation. This can be especially true if you are a foreign national convicted of a crime in the United States. In such cases, a U.S.-based immigration law specialist can help you understand the processes available to you, have your case re-opened swiftly, improve outcomes, and avoid deportation.

Seek Post-Conviction Record Relief in Riverside, CA

If you have been convicted of a serious crime, your battle is not over. A qualified attorney can help you develop the next phase of your legal strategy as you seek to reduce your sentence, re-try your case, or overturn your conviction.

U.S. Law Center has a highly experienced team of immigration law specialists standing by to help clients nationwide. Contact us today for a free consultation and let us develop a winning legal strategy that will put the consequences of your California conviction behind you, reunite your family, and put you back on the path to being a productive and happy member of society, free from the stigma of a wrongful felony conviction or the indignity of an unduly harsh sentence.

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