Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Early Termination of Probation in California

What exactly is probation? Probation generally comes in two types; formal probation, and informal probation.

California Penal Code section 1203.3 talks about probation and the inherent power that the court has to regulate a probationers conduct, or to modify or even end or terminate probation if it makes a finding that such an act is in the interest of justice.

Formal probation is generally given on felony cases. It is a more structured type of probation, and often requires the probationer to report either in person or through an electronic kiosk or post card type reporting on a monthly basis. The probationer is also subject to periodic drug testing as well as search and seizure terms at their home. Some misdemeanor cases result in formal probation although this is pretty unusual, usually limited to serious sex-related misdemeanors, or when the case is reduced to a misdemeanor as part of a plea bargain with the agreement that formal probation will attach as part of the plea.

Informal probation is also called "summary" or "court" probation. This type of probation is a much lower level of supervision, and the probationer does not even need to report to the probation department. They are given a set of terms and conditions of probation, such as paying a fine, attending an alcohol or anger management school, and a general term to "violate the law". This probation is regulated by the court, and generally speaking the only time an issue occurs is when there is a violation of that probation by failure to pay a fine, or perhaps a subsequent arrest during the term of the probation.

The court maintains ongoing power to modify probation during the term of Probation. We address that ongoing power of the court in a motion for early termination of probation. Certain types of cases such as DUIs, or domestic violence cases are more difficult to obtain early termination of probation on.

We have had about 75% of our motions granted; If your motion is denied, we re-file for expungement FOR NO ADDITIONAL LEGAL FEES at the end of probation.

We only do Expungement Law; Record Clearing is our only practice, not a "sideline" to a general law practice. Our fees are competitive and include all Court fees, legal work and service of the petition for expungement on all parties, as well as court appearances. You will not need to appear in Court in most cases. We may not be the 'cheapest' price, but we do things right. Be cautious of non-attorney expungement sites.

We have been successful in our motions to end probation early in Courts all over California. This procedure can take about 5 to 6 weeks, depending upon the Court and the complexity of the case. Please call us to discuss the facts of your case.

California Law (§1203.3 of the Penal Code) allows a Motion to be filed to request a person released be from Probation early, and apply for expungement (§1203.4 PC) at the same time. Usually about half of the Probation Term should have been completed. This is a decision that is discretionary with the Judge, and may be opposed by the Prosecutor's office. It requires a formal written Motion and Court Hearing.

All conditions of Probation must be complete before the Motion to Terminate can be filed; that is, all fines, fees, restitution, classes, programs or community service need to be done before the Court will consider the case. Both misdemeanor and felony probationers can be granted an early termination. At the time probation is terminated, an expungement will be requested immediately and is usually granted during the same Court proceeding.

This procedure requires a seasoned Attorney; it is not a simple form, and requires creativity and court experience.

Fees are reasonable: $1250.00 (may be paid in two or three installments), and include the Motion for Early Termination, Petition for Expungement, Reduction to Misdemeanor (if applicable), all Court appearances, filing fees, Court costs, and research.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Reduce a Felony Conviction to a Misdemeanor

California Law (§17 of the Penal Code) allows a Motion to be filed to request a Felony conviction be reduced to a misdemeanor. This can be done at any time, even years after the conviction. See, Meyer v. Superior Court, 247 Cal. App. 2D 133 (1966) This is a decision that is discretionary with the Judge, see, People v. Superior Court (Alvarez) (1997) 14 Cal.4th 968, 977; and may be opposed by the Prosecutor's office. It requires a Motion and Court Hearing on the merits of the request. This can be done at the same time an Expungement is requested. As the Judge has great discretion in this decision, it is crucial to present the Court with facts favorable to the reduction. Experienced legal counsel increases the chances of success. The charge must be a "wobbler" (originally chargeable as a misdemeanor or felony) so not all felony cases can be reduced. Most 'white collar' type offenses are wobblers. We have had about 95% of our motions to reduce granted. The conviction is then a misdemeanor "for all purposes" making licensing and employment opportunities MUCH better- you no longer have a felony record, and can honestly answer "no" to any question regarding a felony conviction. This reduction can also mean potential restoration of firearms rights; see, People v. Gilbreth (2007) 156 Cal. App. 4th 53, 57-58. We have successfully reduced felony convictions all over California. This procedure can take about 8 weeks to 12 weeks, depending upon the Court and the complexity of the case. Please call for a free consultation to determine if you are eligible for the reduction of your case. If your case involved a State Prison sentence, even if the prison sentence was suspended, you are not eligible to reduce the conviction status to misdemeanor. Fees are reasonable: $750.00 to (may be paid in two installments), and include the Petition for Reduction to Misdemeanor, Expungement (if applicable), all Court appearances, filing fees and research. If Reduction under 17(b) of the Penal Code is done at the same time as an Expungement (set aside and dismissal under Penal Code §1203.4), there is NO additional charge for the reduction proceeding. Visit Our Website for more Information, or call 800 495 2819 for a free consultation.