Plea Withdrawal: immigration consequences
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 Estopel prevents to relitigation of issues that have been litigated. For colateral estopel 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 created a new right. Thus, under Ruiz, the 2019 was a change in the law and therefore allowed relitigaiton of the same issues. This is important because it allows refiling a previously denied 1473.7 under a new ground. 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.
The counterargumetn that the DA can use is that under the doctrine of judicial economy collateral estopel will prevent renewal filing of PC 1473.7. We encorage refiling under Ruiz a new 1473.7, even if your old 1473.7 was denied – despite collateral estopel, often, in Los Angeles motions to withdraw criminal cases
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.