Civil Rights, Personal Injury, Employment Law and Criminal Defense Attorneys. The Rios Firm is dedicated to success and protecting your rights.
Our reputable lawyers have over 40 years of courtroom experience, and specialize in all criminal and DUI matters as well as police misconduct. Pasadena weekly named the Rios law Best Lawyers in Pasadena and Pasadena Magazine has recognized Ralph M. Rios as a Top Attorney. When our clients decide to retain our services, they can be confident that they have hired a knowledgeable, distinguished, and tenacious legal team that will place every effort into helping them either avoid a criminal conviction and keep them out of custody or prosecute their civil rights case to the fullest extent for the maximum possible recovery. Our legal staff is comprised of experienced trial attorneys who have tried and litigated hundreds of cases. Due to our prior legal training, we are able to provide our clients with the resources, advocacy, and legal advice they need to be successful both in and out of court.
Arguing for the immediate release of his clients, the attorney is wrestled to the ground and tased by Federal Marshals. #fightforyourclientsrights
Yesterday, we learned that the punishment for well-armed men taking over an Oregon federal building that doesn't belong to them is ... nothing.
Two corrupt cops joined forces with drug dealers. Now, dozens of criminal cases could be in jeopardy
Four years ago on a sweltering afternoon, Bakersfield Police Det. Damacio Diaz was sitting in his car alongside informant Guillermo “Memo” Magallanes.
Police Brutality at its worst. These pictures are pictures the Sheriff's Department produced showing their deputies' injuries. We were given photos of about 8 different officers with their hands out displaying their "injuries" (bloody fists from beating our 50+ year old clients). Our clients were just onlookers to another beating and have no police record and are hard-working people. After the police finished with the first beating they came after whoever did not move out of the way quick enough. My clients were the first to go down. They beat them unconscious and then they lied about everything they did. Luckily there was video and over fifteen witnesses that support my clients' version of the events. One witness said the deputies looked like a mob of wild chimpanzees just striking and beating anyone in their path. Well, the Federal trial starts in three weeks in Santa Ana and now is crunch time. Late nights here we come.
Clean your criminal record and get hired.
Today our office was able to clear a Felony criminal record to a complete dismissal and terminate probation early. Our client made a mistake and she paid for her mistake. But now she was facing serious consequences as a result of her felony conviction. She could not get a job, and even though she had been in the country since she was six years old she faced deportation.
Read below to see if you are eligible. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.
Expunging Criminal Records
How to Clean Up Your Conviction
Disclaimer: This guide is intended as general information only. Your case may have factors requiring different procedures or forms. The information and instructions are provided for use in California Superior Courts. Please keep in mind that each court may have different requirements. If you need further assistance, please feel free to contact us.
“Expungement" is a term used when referring to a process of cleaning up your criminal record. In this process you request that the court reopen your criminal case, withdraw the plea or guilty verdict, dismiss the charges, and re-close the case without a conviction. In effect, you are no longer a convicted person. However, the case record itself will still exist, but the outcome of the case in will no longer be your plea or conviction, but instead dismissed in the "Interests of Justice," or "IOJ."
Not all convictions can be dismissed. Expungement is limited to cases in which the defendant convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony that could have been charged as a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to county jail time, probation, a fine, or a combination of those three. Additionally, the Penal Codes permitting expungement of criminal records expressly prohibit certain types of convictions from being dismissed. Most of these exceptions involve serious vehicle code violations (those that result in two or more points on your driving record) or sexual offenses against minors. For a detailed list of exceptions see Penal Code § 1203.4 and Penal Code § 1203.4a.
There are three laws used in expungement:
1. The first, Penal Code § 1203.4, is used to expunge cases in which probation was part of the sentence.
2. The second, Penal Code § 1203.4a, is used to expunge cases in which there was no probation.
3. The third, Penal Code § 17, is used to reduce a felony conviction to a misdemeanor, which can then be dismissed. Felonies meeting the criteria under Penal Code § 17 are often called "wobblers," meaning they could be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor.
If you received a state prison term as your sentence, or were convicted of a felony that cannot be reduced to a misdemeanor you will need to file paperwork for a Certificate of Rehabilitation, rather than a Petition and Order for Dismissal. More information is available from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation athttp://www.cdcr.ca.gov/BOPH/docs/apply_for_pardon.pdf
Although your conviction may be dismissed, restrictions resulting from the conviction cannot. An expungement does not:
• Remove the conviction from your criminal history. California and FBI criminal history records will still show the conviction and the subsequent dismissal. However, if the case is dismissed you can tell a potential employer that you have not been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor. Note: Most public employers, immigration courts and high security positions will still see the record and most likely as you for an explanation.
• Seal the court case file from public inspection. The court file remains public record.
• Reinstate your right to possess firearms. In some cases, reduction of a non-violent felony to a misdemeanor may accomplish this.
• Relieve you of your duty to register as a sex offender. In some cases, this may be accomplished by a different motion to the court.
• Allow you to omit the conviction from applications for government-issued licenses. You must disclose your conviction and expungement in your license application.
• Allow you to omit the conviction from application for government employment. If you are applying for a government job, a job that requires security clearance, or a job that requires a government-issued license, certificate, or permit, you must disclose the conviction and expungement.
• Allow you to hold public office, if the conviction prevented you from doing so.
• Prevent the conviction from being used to refuse or revoke a government license or permit, such as real estate license, teaching credential, security guard certificate, etc.
• Prevent the conviction from being used as a "prior." The dismissed conviction can be used for determining sentencing enhancements in subsequent convictions.
• Prevent the conviction from being used by the DMV. Expunged convictions may be used to suspend or revoke driving privileges.
• Prevent the conviction from being used by US Citizenship and Immigration Services. In many situations, an expunged conviction may be considered for removal or exclusion purposes.
For most people, the benefits of an expungement far outweigh these restrictions.
Under California Labor Code § 432.7, employers cannot ask about arrests that did not end in conviction, or about any diversion or similar programs. If the employer is aware of any such arrests or programs, they cannot use this information to make hiring, promotion, or firing decisions.
Once a conviction is expunged, it becomes an arrest that did not end in conviction. Legally, you may answer "No" to these types of questions when applying with a private employer. Keep in mind, though, that background checks typically go back 10 years, and employers can see that you had a conviction dismissed. Answering "No" may look dishonest. A better response may be "Yes, dismissed in the interests of justice." When applying for government employment, you must disclose the conviction and expungement.
Step 1. Determine if You are Eligible to Expunge Your Conviction
• Your conviction must meet the guidelines described in Penal Code § 1203.4, Penal Code § 1203.4a or Penal Code § 17. These code sections provide very specific guidelines about qualifying charges and sentences. Be sure to read those code sections carefully, because there are many exceptions.
• At least one year must have passed since your conviction.
• You must have completed the terms of your sentence. In most situations, the court will not grant an expungement until your sentence is complete. This means you have completed your period of incarceration and/or probation, and paid all fines, fees, and restitution in full.
If you are still on probation for this (or any other) conviction, you may ask the court to terminate your probation early.
You cannot be serving a sentence for any offense, or be charged with the commission of any other offense. If you are still on probation for another offense, you will need to complete the terms of that sentence, or have that probation terminated prior to petitioning for an expungement.
• You must not have received another conviction within one year of the first.
• Your probation for the conviction you're trying to expunge must not have been revoked, and not reinstated.
Step 2. Determine which Type of Expungement Applies to Your Situation
As mentioned above, there are three types of expungement available. The type you use depends on the original conviction and sentence. The information below will help you determine which type of expungement is right for you.
a) Misdemeanor Convictions
• Probation ordered and completed
File a Petition for Dismissal under Penal Code § 1203.4.
• Probation ordered, but not yet completed
File a Motion to Terminate Probation. If that is granted, file a Petition for Dismissal under Penal Code § 1203.4.
• Probation not ordered
File a Petition for Dismissal under Penal Code § 1203.4a.
b) Felony Convictions
• County Jail and/or Probation ordered and completed
File a Petition under Penal Code § 17(b)(3) to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor, and Petition for Dismissal under Penal Code § 1203.4 to expunge the misdemeanor.
• Probation ordered, but not yet completed
File a Motion to Terminate Probation. If that is granted, file a Petition under Penal Code § 17(b) to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor, and Petition for Dismissal under Penal Code § 1203.4 to expunge the misdemeanor.
• State Prison was ordered
If you were sentenced to State Prison, you are not eligible for the procedures described in the guide. Instead, you will need to apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation and/or a Pardon. More information is available from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation athttp://www.cdcr.ca.gov/BOPH/docs/apply_for_pardon.pdf
Step 3. Obtain a Copy of Your Criminal Record
You will need a copy of your criminal record or case information for each conviction you wish to expunge. Your criminal record or case history includes information essential to filling out the expungement papers.
For a copy of your state-wide criminal record, visit a Live Scan fingerprinting site. After providing your fingerprints and paying the required fee, a copy of your criminal record will be mailed to you. To find a Live Scan site near you, see http://ag.ca.gov/fingerprints/publications/contact.php. More information about requesting your statewide criminal history is available at http://ag.ca.gov/fingerprints/security.php. The fee may be waived if you are low income. Call the Attorney General's Records Review unit at (916) 227-3835 for more information.
FOR MORE INFORMATION please feel free to contact our offices.
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What To Do If You’re Stopped By The Police
We all recognize the need for effective law enforcement, but we should also understand our own rights and responsibilities — especially in our interactions with the police.
IF YOU HAVE A POLICE ENCOUNTER, YOU CAN PROTECT YOURSELF.
1. What you say to the police is always important. Everything you say can be used against you.
2. You have the right not to speak. To exercise this right, you should tell the police, “I would like to remain silent.”
3. You never have to consent to a search of yourself, your belongings, your car or your house. If you do consent to a search, it can affect your rights later in court. If the police say they have a search warrant, ask to see it. If they don’t, say “I do not consent to this search.”
Police cannot arrest you simply for refusing to consent to a search. This may not stop the search from happening, but it will protect your rights if you have to go to court.
4. Do not interfere with or obstruct the police—you can be arrested for it.
IF YOU ARE STOPPED, QUESTIONED AND/OR FRISKED:
Police may stop and briefly detain you only if there is reasonable suspicion that you committed, are committing or are about to commit a crime.
2. You should ask if you are under arrest or free to leave.
3. In some jurisdictions you are not required to carry ID, and you don’t have to show ID to a police officer. If you are issued a summons or arrested, however, and you refuse to produce ID or tell officers who you are,
the police may detain you until you can be positively identified.
5. Don’t bad-mouth a police officer or run away, even if you believe what is happening is unreasonable. That could lead to your arrest.
IF YOU ARE STOPPED IN YOUR CAR:
1. Upon request, show the police your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. In certain cases, your car can be searched without a warrant. To protect yourself later, you should state that you do not consent to a search.
2. If you’re suspected of drunk driving (DWI), you will be asked to take a breath-alcohol and coordination test. If you fail the tests, or if you refuse to take them, you will be arrested, your driver’s license may be suspended and your car may be taken away.
3. If you are arrested, your car will be subject to a search.
IF POLICE COME TO YOUR HOME:
1. The police can enter your home without your permission if they have a warrant or if it is an emergency. If the police say they have a warrant, ask to see it. Check to make sure the warrant has the correct address.
2. If you are arrested in your home or office, the police can search you and the area immediately surrounding you or where evidence of criminal activity is in plain view.
IF YOU ARE ARRESTED OR TAKEN TO A POLICE STATION:
1. You have the right to remain silent and the right to talk to a lawyer before you talk to the police. Don’t tell the police anything except your name and address. Don’t give any explanations, excuses or stories. You can make your defense later, in court, based on what you and your lawyer decide is best.
2. If you have a lawyer, ask to see your lawyer immediately. If you can’t afford a lawyer, you have the right to a free one once your case goes to court. You can ask the police how to contact a lawyer. Don’t say anything to police without speaking to a lawyer first.
3. Within a reasonable time after your arrest or booking, you should ask the police to contact a family member or friend. If you are permitted to make a phone call, anything you say at the precinct may be recorded or listened to. Never talk about the facts of your case over the telephone.
4. Do not make any decisions in your case or sign any statements until you have talked with a lawyer.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE STOPPED BY THE POLICE
Stay calm and in control of your words, body language and emotions.
Don’t get into an argument with the police.
Never bad-mouth a police officer.
Remember, anything you say or do can be used against you.
Keep your hands where the police can see them.
Don’t touch any police officer.
Don’t resist even if you believe you are innocent.
If you complain at the scene, or tell the police they’re wrong, do so in a non-confrontational way that will not intensify the scene.
Do not make any statements regarding the incident.
If you are arrested, ask for a lawyer immediately.
Remember officers’ badge numbers, patrol car numbers and physical descriptions.
Write down everything you remember ASAP.
Try to find witnesses and their names and phone numbers.
If you are injured, take photos of the injuries as soon as possible, but make sure you get medical attention first. Ask for copies of your medical treatment files.
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South Pasadena, CA
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