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What To Do if You Were Convicted of a Felony and Sentenced to State Prison?
Philippine News Thursday, July 26 2012
What can you do “clear your criminal record” if you were convicted of a felony and sentenced to state prison?
If you were sentenced to state prison or sentenced under the authority of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, you are not eligible for a dismissal under Penal Code section 1203.4 or 1203.4a (commonly referred to an “expungement”). However, you may be eligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation and a Governor’s Pardon.
You are eligible to obtain a Certificate of Rehabilitation if you (1) were convicted of a felony and sentenced to state prison, (2) have been released from custody, on probation or parole and have since remained crime-free (3) present proof that you were a California resident for a minimum of 5 years prior to filing for your Certificate (or 3 years if you were placed on parole), and (4) present proof of satisfactory period of rehabilitation which begins from the day you were released from custody.
For Certificate of Rehabilitation applications, a “satisfactory period of rehabilitation” is the time you were free from criminal activity. This period includes the 5 years that you were a California resident immediately prior to the filing of your Certificate plus 4 years if you were convicted of murder, aggravated kidnapping, train derailing or wrecking, assault with GBI or any other offense that carries a life sentence and 5 years if convicted of any sex offense that requires sex registration.
You are not eligible for the certificate of rehabilitation if you were convicted of a misdemeanor (unless it is one of the misdemeanor sex offenses listed in Penal Code Section 290, 286©, 288, 288.5, 289j), serving mandatory life parole, have been sentenced to death or are in the military. Note that if you are convicted of one of the offenses which make you ineligible, you may still qualify for a Governor’s Pardon.
This is a complex application process in which requires an experienced criminal defense attorney. It is critical that you hire one that has extensive experiences in this area since it requires a great deal of documentary and evidentiary presentation to the court and the prosecution. While it is solely under the discretion of the court, it is also my goal to have the prosecution affirm my request.
Upon receipt of the petition, the court sets a hearing date. All parties must be served and it is my general practice to contact the assigned prosecutor to discuss the case even prior to the hearing date. At the hearing date, I present all favorable evidence to convince the court that the petition should be granted. I always require my client to attend and will have met and conferred with the prosecutor prior to the hearing. If granted, your Certificate of Rehabilitation becomes an automatic application for a Governor’s Pardon. A Governor’s Pardon is the ultimate relief from the penalties associated with a criminal conviction.
The petition requires you to file with the Superior Court where you resides and is a very complex and lengthy process. It requires an efficient criminal defense attorney to guide you throughout the process. This is not a job for paralegals or inexperienced attorneys since the process is time consuming and hiring an attorney with extensive experience in filing these specialized petitions must be done to assure success.