The Right Attorney Can Greatly Impact Your Case Outcome And Criminal Record
When it comes to protecting your freedom and your reputation, you cannot afford to trust your case to an inexperienced or untested attorney. Who you hire matters, because a good lawyer will have an in-depth knowledge of California criminal law and how it can work for you. That’s why you should contact the Law Office of James McGee. On this page, we provide some basic but important information you may not have known about three-strikes laws, criminal record reductions and alternatives to traditional prosecution.
Fighting To Help Clients With Prior Convictions Avoid Three-Strikes Sentencing
In 1994, California adopted a “three strikes” sentencing law. The idea was to get tough on crime by imposing increasingly harsh sentences for repeat felony convictions. By the third felony, someone could be looking at 25 years to life in prison. The law was amended in 2012 to focus primarily on serious or violent felonies and to allow people convicted under the old law to seek sentencing relief if they would have been sentenced differently under the new law.
Even with the amendments, however, the three-strikes law is harsh. If you have prior convictions, especially for violent offenses, our attorneys will work tirelessly to prevent a new conviction and/or seek to have a prior strike dismissed for purposes of sentencing.
Explore Your Options For Cleaning Up Or Reducing Your Criminal Record
A criminal record can haunt you for years or a lifetime, long after your debt to society has been repaid. Certain convictions can make it difficult or impossible to find a job or get approved for housing, for instance. Thankfully, relief is available in some cases.
Under Penal Code section 17(b), convicted offenders can petition the court to change certain felony offenses to misdemeanors on their old criminal record. These must typically be low-level and non-violent felonies.
Additionally, Penal Code section 1203.4 allows individuals to seek expungement of certain prior convictions, which, among other things, allows you to lawfully claim on most job applications that you have not been convicted. It does not entirely erase your record, but it means you are largely “released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense.”
Seeking relief under these statutes is complex and time-consuming, and it is difficult for many people to even know if they are eligible. That’s why we invite you to discuss your options with us during a free initial consultation.
Resolving Your Charges Through Pre-Trial Diversion
In some cases, you may have the option to avoid conviction and traditional prosecution by participating in a pre-trial diversion program. Examples of available programs include:
- Deferred Entry of Judgment (PC 1000): If you were charged with a non-violent, simple possession drug offense, you can avoid conviction by agreeing to receive treatment and education instead.
- RISE Program: Defendants in San Bernardino County may be eligible for the Rehabilitation, Intervention, Support, and Education program, which allows for dismissal of their charges if they meet a customized list of conditions, such as education courses and payment of restitution and fees.
- Veterans Court: A program lasting 15 to 18 months, available to qualifying military veterans (usually those with PTSD or other trauma), after which they can petition to have their felony or misdemeanor case dismissed.
- Drug Court: These programs often allow for a reduction in charges if defendants successfully complete substance abuse treatment and other requirements.
- Mental Health courts and Mental Health Diversion programs: Defendants with qualifying diagnosed mental health conditions can receive treatment, support and monitoring as an alternative to traditional prosecution. There are a number of programs with varying services and participation requirements.
If you believe you could benefit from any of these programs, please discuss your interest with our attorneys, who can help you determine if you might qualify.
Learn About Your Legal Options In A Free Consultation
Based in San Bernardino, California, the Law Office of James McGee serves clients in the Inland Empire. Our practice is entirely focused on criminal defense, and we have a strong track record of success on behalf of clients. To take advantage of a free initial consultation, call us at 1-888-873-0383 or reach out online.