Expungements, Certificates of Rehabilitation, Pardons, and Vacated Convictions
People convicted of crimes often face repercussions from their convictions long after any debt to society has been paid. A conviction can prevent a person from obtaining housing or employment and can cause others to question a person's character. In many cases, however, there are options available that will allow a person convicted of a crime to repair the harm caused by the conviction, such as an expungement, a certificate of rehabilitation, a pardon, or a vacated conviction. If you were convicted of a criminal offense, you should explore your options for post-conviction relief. The Colusa and Lake County criminal defense lawyers at Hinely Law can investigate the facts of your case and assist you in striving to limit the impact of your conviction.Expungements
In California, a person convicted of a crime can seek to have his or her conviction “expunged” if the person has completed probation for the crime. The person must also show that he or she did not serve a sentence in a state prison for the conviction, or if they served a sentence in a state prison, the crime was not committed after Proposition 47 was enacted. Some people convicted of crimes are not able to obtain an expungement, including people who are currently on probation or charged with a crime or who are serving a sentence for a crime. Additionally, people convicted of certain sex crimes cannot obtain an expungement. An expungement removes many consequences arising out of a conviction, such as an obligation to report the conviction to certain specified employers and a prohibition from obtaining certain professional licenses.Certificates of Rehabilitation
If a person in Colusa, Lake, Sutter, or Yuba Counties is not eligible for an expungement, he or she may seek relief via a certificate of rehabilitation, which is a finding by a court that the person has been rehabilitated. Eligibility for a certificate of rehabilitation is defined by statutory law and largely depends on the nature of the crime for which the person was convicted and the sentence imposed. The certificate can improve a person’s employment prospects and, in some sex crime cases, will remove the obligation to register as a sex offender. The certificate also acts as an application for a governor’s pardon.Pardons
In California, the governor may pardon a person convicted of a crime if the person meets certain criteria. Specifically, anyone convicted of a crime can apply for a pardon after a sufficient period of rehabilitation, which can range from seven to 10 years, if the person was not convicted of a serious crime during that period. The person must prove that he or she is rehabilitated and deserving of a pardon. The governor cannot pardon convictions of federal crimes. If you receive a pardon, it will restore your gun rights, allow you to seek employment that you could not otherwise obtain with a conviction, and relieve you of the obligation to register as a sex offender if you committed a sex crime. It does not remove a conviction from the public record, however.Vacated Convictions
If you entered a guilty plea or a no-contest plea in your criminal trial, you may be able to have your conviction vacated if you can establish that you did not enter the plea knowingly, intelligently, and freely. Typically, this is proven by demonstrating that you were forced into the plea, were unaware of the consequences of the plea, and would not have entered the plea if you had known the consequences, or that you were not represented by counsel or that your counsel was ineffective. You may also be able to vacate a conviction if you were not adequately advised of immigration consequences prior to entering the plea. If the motion for a vacated conviction is granted, you can withdraw your plea so that you may enter a not guilty plea, and then you can defend yourself against the charges or seek other dispositions.Consult a Trusted Criminal Defense Attorney Based in Colusa and Lake Counties
A criminal conviction can impair your career, reputation, and rights long after the guilty verdict is entered. It can even result in your deportation from the country. If you were convicted of a crime, you should speak with a criminal lawyer at Hinely Law regarding whether you may be able to pursue post-conviction relief. You can contact us at our office in Colusa at (530) 458-2950, at our office in Lakeport at (707) 995-7006, or online to set up a free and confidential consultation. Our attorneys regularly assist defendants in criminal cases in Lake and Colusa Counties, as well as in Sutter, and Yuba Counties.