What Is California Penal Code 1473.7?

Attorney Aaron Spolin

Attorney Aaron Spolin has successfully used strategies to win the freedom of many of his clients.

PC 1473.7 provides those who have been released from custody the ability to challenge their criminal conviction and vacate their judgment.

Penal Code 1473.7 (motion to vacate) was enacted in January of 2017, helping to completely revolutionize the post-conviction relief process. Prior to the introduction of PC 1473.7, individuals were largely limited in the ways they had to challenge their conviction or sentence, with habeas corpus petitions being one of the most common means to do so.

The criticism of habeas corpus petitions however was that they are only available to defendants while they were in custody. Once released, defendants were unable to file such petitions and consequently were left with no legal avenue to vacate their conviction and seek the post-conviction relief they deserved. This predominantly affected immigrant populations who were at risk for deportation following a conviction.

The result was a wave of unnecessary deportations prompted by an old system that provided no way for the court to consider cases following a defendant’s release from prison.

  1. What Is California Penal Code 1473.7?
  2. When Can a Motion to Vacate Be Pursued?
  3. How Long Do I Have to File a PC 1473.7 Motion?
  4. What Happens Following a Successful PC 1473.7 Motion?

When Can a Motion to Vacate Be Pursued?

The enactment of PC 1473.7 helped to close this gap in the criminal justice system, allowing people to vacate a judgment following prison release. This petition may be filed if either:

  1. New evidence was discovered proving actual innocence, or
  2. Prejudicial error occurred

Vacating a Judgment Based on Newly Discovered Evidence

While less common, PC 1473.7 provides people the opportunity to challenge their conviction on the grounds of a new evidence discovery. This may include new results from a scientific test (like a DNA sample), confession to the crime in question by another person, or facts that invalidate evidence used in the original conviction (for instance, the contamination of a crime lab.)

Vacating on Prejudicial Error

In addition to the discovery of new evidence, PC 1473.7 allows the court the authority to vacate a conviction if it can be proven that “prejudicial error” was present.

To be considered “prejudicial” in the eyes of the court, a defendant must show that the error committed inhibited their ability to truthfully internalize and legally defend against the immigration consequences of a guilty plea.

To establish prejudice, the defendant does not have to prove that they would have obtained a more favorable result in the absence of the error but rather that that if properly advised:

  1. They would have not pleaded guilty, or
  2. Would not have rationally taken a plea bargain
  1. What Is California Penal Code 1473.7?
  2. When Can a Motion to Vacate Be Pursued?
  3. How Long Do I Have to File a PC 1473.7 Motion?
  4. What Happens Following a Successful PC 1473.7 Motion?

How Long Do I Have to File a PC 1473.7 Motion?

Criminal defense lawyers at Spolin Law P.C. discuss strong defenses they can use in a motion to vacate judgment.

Criminal defense lawyers at Spolin Law P.C. discuss strong defenses they can use in a motion to vacate judgment. Call for a consultation of your case: (310) 424-5816.

According to PC 1473.7, motions must be filed with “reasonable diligence” following:

  1. The day the defendant receives the order to appear in immigrant court
  2. The day the removal order is finalized

In proceeding with “reasonable diligence,” the defendant must not delay in bringing the motion to court following the discovery of the evidence needed to vacate the conviction.

  1. What Is California Penal Code 1473.7?
  2. When Can a Motion to Vacate Be Pursued?
  3. How Long Do I Have to File a PC 1473.7 Motion?
  4. What Happens Following a Successful PC 1473.7 Motion?

What Happens Following a Successful PC 1473.7 Motion?

Attorneys Don Nguyen, Aaron Spolin, and Jeremy Cutcher, and legal researcher Dan DeMaria | Spolin Law P.C.

Attorneys at Spolin Law P.C. fight against wrongful convictions. Call them today at (310) 424-5816.

If an individual’s PC 1473.7 motion is granted, their conviction will be vacated and erased. This however does not mean the charges brought against them are dropped, but rather allows them the opportunity to withdraw their guilty plea or plea bargain agreement and either proceed with a new trial or negotiate a new plea that offers less serious immigrant consequences.

If you have any questions about PC 1473.7 and what it could mean for you or a loved one don’t hesitate to reach out to our Spolin Law team at (310) 424-5816 for a free consultation.