Many people think that it's ok to take a plea if all they have to complete is a little community service or an anger management class. These people will often be heard saying things like, "I was facing two years, and all I got was probation!" These are the same people that will be sitting in a jail cell in a few months claiming that their lawyer made them plead guilty.
While there are certainly times when it is a good idea to take a deal, it is critical to understand how probation operates. If you were facing two years and you got probation, you didn't get probation instead of the two years, you got probation with two years hanging over your head!
The reason for this is that every probationary sentence includes either jail time or prison time hanging over you. If you comply with probation, you never see the time. But if you are found in violation, all or part of the sentence hanging over you can be imposed at the discretion of the sentencing judge.
Any time that you are on probation you face the risk of jail time. People on probation also have limited rights. Most grants of probation include a "search and seizure" clause, a "no weapons" clause and other similar restrictions. If you are on felony probation, the situation is even worse. Felony probationers face the potential for a prison term, and felony probationers are routinely held without bail (meaning you are stuck in jail) when a violation is pending.
Who wants jail or prison time hanging over their head? Probation can often be ended early upon application of the probationer. If you have completed all of your probation requirements, contact us today to see if we can get you off probation early. Once you are off probation, the risk of seeing that sentence is gone.
There are also situations where a person wants to comply with probation but they simply can't. Maybe you have had financial problems or medical problems. Maybe your life has simply changed since you were placed on probation. Maybe you are now married to a person the court ordered you to stay away from....maybe you have children with that person. If there has been a change, it is essential to request a modification to your probation terms before you are find in violation and sent to jail. If you need an extension or any other modification to your probation terms, contact our office today.
The term "expungement" is commonly used to refer to cleaning up your record. This term is actually misused because expungement implies that your record is erased when the motion is granted. Under California law it doesn't work that way.
While it is not possible to erase or expunge your record, it is possible to have the conviction set aside or the plea of guilty withdrawn. A new plea of not guilty is then entered and the case is ordered dismissed. The procedure for accomplishing this is found in Section 1203.4 of the Penal Code.
While this will not completely erase your record, it will sure make it look better. Once your motion is granted you will also be permitted to lawfully deny the existence of the conviction in applications for employment to private employers. Some government jobs or state licensed positions will still require disclosure, but even in that case the motion is still a good idea.
When someone is looking at your record, what will be the last thing that they see? If you do nothing, the bottom line says "convicted". If you have this motion granted, the bottom line says "dismissed". Which person would you hire?
If you need help getting an old charge dismissed or "expunged", contact our office today to see if we can help you put your past behind you.
CLEANING YOUR CRIMINAL RECORD
If you have been convicted in the past of a criminal offense, you should seek legal advice to help clean your record. The Law Offices of Mark A. Gallagher have been assisting many people in cleaning up their criminal record. In today's day and age, it is important to keep your record clean. Whether it be for job opportunity or just piece of mind, it is important to make sure your “rap sheet” remains as clean as possible. Here are some tips:
1) Hire the right criminal defense attorney in the first place. Obviously, the better the attorney you have from the beginning, the greater chance you have to keep a clean record. The Law Offices of Mark A. Gallagher understand how important this is and have been helping clients in maintaining a clean record.
2) If you have already been convicted, seek consultation with our firm. We can assess whether the case can be reduced to a misdemeanor under 17(b) of the California Penal Code, or expunge the record under 1203.4 of the California Penal Code, or perhaps seek a Certificate of Rehabilitation or a Governor's Pardon.
3) Even if you were merely arrested, but never charged, you still have that arrest on your record. The Law Offices of Mark A. Gallagher can assist you in removing the arrest from your record completely where the record of arrest itself is purged under 851.8 of the California Penal Code.
Whatever the situation, you need to maintain a clean record. This is especially true with young clients who have a bright future ahead of them and are still seeking a good career. Criminal convictions can cause many doors of opportunity to close. With many employers doing background checks these days, cleaning up your record is vital to keep doors of opportunity open. You can contact my law firm at anytime to discuss you particular situation and how we can best help you.