As of January 1, 2016, California law provides that the deferred entry of judgment statute (Penal Code section 1000, et.seq.) misinformed defendants, including all non-citizens, about the consequences of the guilty plea. Consequently, these convictions are deemed legally “invalid.” This change will benefit non-citizens because federal immigration law does not recognize convictions invalidated “for cause.”
New Penal Code § 1203.43(a) provides: “The Legislature finds and declares that the statement in Section 1000.4, that “successful completion of a deferred entry of judgment program shall not, without the defendant’s consent, be used in any way that could result in the denial of any employment, benefit, license, or certificate” constitutes misinformation about the actual consequences of making a plea in the case of some defendants, including all non-citizen defendants, because the disposition of the case may cause adverse consequences, including adverse immigration consequences. (2) Accordingly, the Legislature finds and declares that based on this misinformation and the potential harm, the defendant’s prior plea is invalid.”
Defendants can file a simple petition asking that their conviction be invalidated. No court hearing is necessary to obtain relief.