There are many reasons for seeking post conviction relief, or attempting to vacate a conviction, in California. Certain criminal convictions, such as for domestic violence or for drug related offenses, can result in deportation or denial of immigration benefits to a non-citizen of the United States. Vacating the criminal conviction, which includes withdrawing the plea and vacating the judgment, can reverse that. Therefore, if you face removal, deportation or denial of naturalization because of a criminal conviction, speak to an attorney with knowledge of these legal issues to determine whether vacating the conviction in California is an option for you.
There are many grounds for invalidating or vacating a conviction in California. Most convictions follow a guilty plea. California requires that the judge advise you of the immigration consequences of a guilty plea during sentencing. Courts have vacated convictions because the court did not provide the advisement of those consequences. Courts have vacated a conviction because the defendant’s own attorney did not advise the defendant of the immigration consequences or failed to identify and negotiate a plea without adverse immigration consequences. Another ground may be a guilty plea made in reliance on false promises made to the defendant by a police officer or prosecutor. Therefore, if you believe that there may be grounds to vacate your criminal conviction, speak to an attorney with knowledge of these legal issues as soon as possible. If you or your attorney present a compelling reason, the prosecutor and judge may agree to vacate the conviction, resulting in the reversal of the denial of immigration benefits.