In 2017, the law in California changed to allow plea withdrawal for defendants who did not understand the immigration consequences of a conviction. Penal Code 1473.7 was adopted, permitting the cleaning of criminal records when the defendant:
“…can show prejudicial error damaging the moving party’s ability to meaningfully understand, a defendant against, or knowingly accept the actual or potential immigration consequences of a conviction or sentence.”
In 2019 California Penal Code 1473.7 was amended to allow defendants to argue legal invalidity without claiming ineffective assistance of counsel. This is an important amendment because defendants no longer have to claim that their previous trial counsel is the reason there is a conviction.
Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorneys often hear from the defendants that they were not told by the previous lawyer of the possible deportation or immigration consequences. Or, Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney will hear from clients that previous attorneys forced defendants to plead guilty or lied to them about the consequences of pleading guilty. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney will help you fix your case no matter what, but, this new amendment means that to file a motion to withdraw the plea, defendants no longer need to contact previous counsel.
Collateral Estoppel prevents to relitigation of issues that have been litigated. For collateral estoppel to apply,
- The issue must be identical to the previously litigated issues,
- The issue must be litigated in the previous proceedings,
- The issue was decided in the previous proceedings,
- The decision in the former proceeding must be final and on the merits.
However, a recent case of People v. Ruiz 49 Cal. App 5th 1061 held that the 2019 amendment to Penal Code section 1473.7 created a new right. Under the case of People v. Ruiz, a person convicted of a crime in Los Angeles is allowed to refile a motion to withdraw a guilty plea and dismiss of his criminal case even after he already tried. This law can only be used when a person is fighting an immigration case and trying to avoid deportation, receive a green card, etc.. If you have a conviction in Los Angeles Court and you are an immigrant, please give us a call. Now, we can refile a previously denied 1473.7 as long as we can add to an argument. Even if you tried to withdraw your plea between 2017 and 2019, and it was denied, under People v. Ruiz you can do it now again because Ruiz says that the 2019 amendment changed the Penal Code section so much that filing another 1473.7 is justified.
This is also important because a motion to withdraw the plea must be filed as soon as practically possible. However, now that the law changed in 2019, any delay must be only justified past 2019 and not past 2017.
The DA will try to rely on the doctrine of the judicial economy where collateral estoppel must prevent the renewal filing of PC 1473.7. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney recommends filing renwed PC 1473.7 motion even if your previous 1473.7 motion was denied, citing People v. Ruiz , even if Los Angles Prosecutors argument regarding collateral estoppel, because, this is usually the only chance to avoid deportation in Los Angeles.
To talk to a lawyer about withdrawing your guilty plea to help you get immigration documents or to improve your immigration status, call Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney directly at 323-464-6424. We provide free consultation and quality criminal defense at affordable prices for many Los Angeles defendants.