Post Conviction Relief

Post Conviction Relief

Typical Post-Conviction Relief Includes Expungements, Early Terminations of Probation, and Sealing Juvenile Records

The Virga Law firm can assist with your expungement, reducing felonies to misdemeanors, early termination of probation, or sealing juvenile records. Each of these methods of post-conviction relief can mitigate the damages that a conviction has on a person. During a free consultation, the Virga Law Firm will assess whether you qualify for these forms of relief and can explain what they can do for you.

What is Complex Criminal Post-Conviction Relief?

Post-Conviction relief is a general term for altering a plea, sentence, or record of conviction.  Complex Post-Conviction relief refers to cases where immigration issues are present. Often, post-conviction relief involves filing a motion in state court to modify, reduce, expunge, or dismiss.  Post-conviction relief often arises in cases where immigration issues are present.  Because of this, the Virga Law Firm has go-to specialized immigration counsel as part of its broader team.  When necessary, immigration counsel assists the Virga Law Firm in covering all aspects of post-conviction relief and immigration issues.  Success in criminal post-conviction relief often requires this blend of deep understanding of both criminal law and immigration law.

The Virga Law Firm has obtained incredible relief for clients after convictions. In one case, the Virga Law Firm was able to get a client’s old criminal case retroactively dismissed in a way that ended deportation proceedings.  Employing post-conviction relief in state court is a powerful way to remove possible negative immigration consequences of criminal convictions.

Post-conviction relief is often a tricky area of the law.  However, the Virga Law Firm can evaluate whether a case is ripe for post-conviction relief.   The Virga Law Firm provides free initial consultations in post-conviction relief cases and gathers the necessary information, including the facts and nature of the underlying conviction, whether the client has served a sentence, the client’s other criminal history, current immigration issues.

After the initial consultation, the Virga Law Firm will evaluate whether there is a vehicle that can provide Post-Conviction Relief for the client and form a strategy for moving forward.


What is an Expungement?

An expungement is a process of cleaning up a criminal conviction. It allows you to re-open your case, withdraw your plea, and have the charges dismissed. If the court grants the expungement, your charges will dismissed without a conviction. The process in California is commonly referred to as an expungement.

What Can Expungement Do for You?

Once a conviction is expunged, you no longer have a conviction. As the code states: you are “released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense of which he or she has been convicted.”

Instead of showing a conviction, the court record will show that the case was dismissed in the interests of justice. Expungements can help with getting a job because, under California Labor Code section 432.7, California employers cannot ask about cases that were expunged. This generally applies to both private and public employers. Note, you still must disclose convictions and expungements on applications for California state issued licenses.

Additionally, expungements do not normally restore gun rights or the obligation to register as a sex offender. Expunged convictions can also be used as priors in a subsequent criminal prosecution.

Eligibility for Expungements:

There are general three types of expungements depending on the nature of the offense and the sentence. Many people are eligible for a 1203.4 dismissal without realizing it. People are generally eligible if they were not sent to state prison, probation has been completed, and all fines and restitution have been paid.

Penal Code section 1203.4

Expungements under Penal Code section 1203.4 are used if you were convicted of a misdemeanor and part of the sentence included probation.

Penal Code section 1204.4a

Expungements under Penal Code section 1203.4a are used if you were convicted of a misdemeanor and probation was not part of the sentence.

Reducing Felonies to Misdemeanors

Penal Code section 17(b)

Penal Code section 17(b) is used to reduce a felony conviction to a misdemeanor. After the conviction is reduced to a misdemeanor, it can be dismissed. For a felony conviction to be eligible under PC 17(b), it must have been a felony that could have been charged as a misdemeanor—a so called “wobbler.” Further, you will not be eligle for expungement under 17(b) if you got sent to state prison.

To be eligible to expunge a conviction one-year must have passed since the conviction, you must have completed all the terms of the sentence, including successfully completing probation, and cannot be serving a sentence or be charged with another crime. Also, you had to serve your sentence without going to state prison.

How the Process Works

First, the attorneys at the Virga Law Firm, analyze your conviction, sentencing, and completion of any probation. Then, the attorneys will figure out which expungement vehicle is proper for you and file the appropriate documents. The attorneys will also appear at any necessary hearing.

After all the papers are filed, the court will issue a ruling declaring the prior felony a misdemeanor for all purposes going forward. Generally, this allows a person to answer “no” to questions about prior felony convictions and restores voting and gun rights.

What is Early Termination of Probation?

Penal Code section 1203.3 allows people on probation to ask the court to terminate or modify their probation. The court can end probation early or modify fines that are owed.

What is sealing Juvenile Records?

A juvenile file contains all of the paperwork and records from a juvenile criminal case. Once a juvenile proceeding is sealed and the person can answer “no” to questions about criminal history. The process is governed by Welfare and Institutions Code section 781 and it is a powerful tool.

The lawyers at the Virga Law Firm have vast experience in post-conviction relief.  Call for a free consultation to see what you can do to clean up your record.