I have a prior
misdemeanor conviction, can it be expunged ?
Yes. In most occasions
misdemeanor convictions can be expunged. With few exceptions, Our
office has succeeded in expunging all our client's past
I have a prior felony conviction, can it be
Yes. Felony convictions can be expunged in a two step process
under California PC 17(b), provided that (1) the felony was a
Wobbler and (2) probation was granted. A Wobbler is a
California penal code violation, that can be charges as either a
felony or a misdemeanor. Numerous felonies are wobblers under
California law. If probation was denied, or the defendant
was sentenced to state prison, then the felony can not be
I have a prior felony conviction and I am
still in probation. Can my record be expunged ?
Yes under certain circumstances the record can be expunged by
filing a petition with the court for early termination. This
matter will be discussed during our initial consultation.
I am not a U.S.
citizen, can a criminal conviction cause me to be deported from the
Yes. If you either have a green
card, have applied for a green card but don't have one yet, are
out of status (your visa expired) or entered the U.S. without
inspection, most criminal convictions even if you don't serve jail
time and are granted probation can lead to your deportation from
the U.S. Furthermore if you were arrested and booked (your picture
and fingerprints were taken at the police station) homeland
security, will have a immigration hold. An
immigration hold allows homeland security to take you in custody
and move you to a holding facility, such as
Lancaster, San Pedro, or to an adjacent state such as Arizona due to
present jail overcrowding . This can happen
quickly, often while you are still in court and just plead guilty to
Does a green card afford me any protection
from deportation ?
No. The reason is you only maintain permanent residence so long as
you are not charged and convicted of (even if you voluntarily
plead to the crime on condition of not serving jail time
"probation" ) a crime. Under Immigration law, there is a
term I use for explanation purposes, "parallel universe".
In this parallel Universe,
Penal code violation which are classified as infractions,
misdemeanors and felonies have their own unique classification and
thus consequences under immigration law. Crimes that can subject
you to deportation (removal) are two convictions for a crime
involving "Moral Turpitude"
which is very broadly defined and includes numerous crimes, and
"aggravated felonies". A aggravated felony under
immigration law is a misnomer. Bears no relation to serious crimes under criminal law. As an example
a domestic violence, battery or assault, otherwise classified as a
Misdemeanor under the California penal code
is classified as an aggravated felony, under U.S. immigration law
and will subject you to deportation. Aggravated felonies have no
waiver. Most crimes charging you with
violent acts, domestic violence, theft crimes, drug possession crimes (simple
possession under 30 grams marijuana for personal use excepted),
prostitution, and any use of a fire arm can also get you deported, a
complete exhaustive list is clearly beyond the scope of this
article and will require our consultation in private.
The only protection afforded by a green card, is one of "due
process", meaning that if you don't yet have a green card, or have
"illegal" status, you are subject to "summary removal" a procedure
where after serving your sentence, or even after being granted
probation with no jail time, immigration can take you in custody, put you on a plane
and in effect ship you back to your country of birth. If you have a green card
and released you will receive a "NTA" Notice to appear, to go
before the immigration court, which is under Federal jurisdiction
to defend your self all over in a separate and completely
different , formal court hearing. Unlike in a criminal court, (juveniles
are subject to special representation), a free defense attorney
at government's expense is never provided to you in an
immigration court. You are simply on your own. Plea bargains, a
creation of criminal justice system do not exist in a immigration
court. You either have a defense (unrelated to the defense you put
up in the criminal matter) or you don't.
I am non
citizen facing criminal charges do I need to hire more than one
Since 1996 "IIRRA" has resulted in
the deportation of thousands of resident aliens, who plead to a plea
often under pressure, on the advice of their well intending defense attorney. It is common for defense attorneys to
their efforts on keeping their client out of jail, leaving the
immigration matter to an immigration attorney. Faced with a cash strapped
client, who can barely pay enough to have his attorney plea bargain the case,
the attorney is challenged with either accepting a probation offer, with adverse immigration consequences,
or trying the case through the jury trial on a shoe string budget.
Faced with this dilemma, a
conscious decision is made to disregard the immigration consequence . The problem with this approach is
be an "immigration hold" (defendant is taken in custody by
homeland security, even though the DA promised probation. This can
happen quickly. Often while still
in court ) and
2. The damage is done, requiring
hiring an immigration attorney, specializing in deportation law, paying additional attorney
fee, and going through an entirely new trial.
When a plea bargain is recommended by your attorney, every effort
should be made to consider alternatives with no immigration
consequences. When this goal is not practical under the
circumstances, your attorney should
negotiate the wording of the actual charges and the penal
remedies on the record.
If your attorney does not have this expertise, you will always benefit
consulting an immigration attorney before accepting a plea.
A Law enforcement officer is
questioning me on the phone, should I cooperate ?
you being investigated by a cordial and seemingly friendly
detective, or an FBI special agent who keeps
calling you for
information. Your cooperation with law enforcement hardly ever
works to your advantage. When
a person is under an Ora of
suspicion, everything the suspect says including answers to
otherwise Innocuous questions, such as time, date or place
information can and will be used as an admission. Every
statement given at a follow up investigation weeks later
when your memory is foggy and unclear, can and will be used against you
by the prosecution to portray you as a Liar.
Detectives are experienced professionals, and receive extensive training on how to testify at a preliminary
hearing or trial. A seemingly friendly detective can trick you
into an admission or a confession which will be used against you
at trial. This is completely legal under current law. As you can
understand, unless you had absolutely nothing to do with
the incident that lead to your questioning in the first place, it is rarely
advantageous to volunteer your cooperation to law enforcement,
outside the presence of your attorney.
A Law enforcement officer is knocking
yelling that he has a warrant to search my apartment. Should
I let him in?
Assuming you do not have a prior conviction (where as a
condition of granting probation, you agreed to a future Warrant
less search) contact your attorney on the first available
you have the right to see and be served with the warrant. The search warrant should
be recently signed, state, the address where the warrant is being executed, naming the
items and places to be searched with particularity, and signed by a judicial officer.
If the warrant is lacking in any of the above, it is defective and
you should let it be known. If the
officer can not produce a warrant, you are under no obligation to
authorize them to conduct a search, even if the reason given is to
search for another occupant's possessions. Note: however this does
not mean you should physically confront, tangle with, or to
threaten law enforcement. That kind of conduct can lead to your on
the spot arrest on a separate charge, such as assaulting a police
officer (a felony). The validity of the search, is a matter that should be taken up by your
attorney, at the first available opportunity, by means of a motion to
Note: Warrant-less searches
are permissible under curtain circumstances, referred to as "exigent circumstances",
the full scope of which is beyond the scope of this article.
enforcement search my automobile without a warrant:
The simple answer is it depends on whether
your car is in motion or parked. If you are driving and are
stopped by law enforcement who identifies himself or herself as such, a
minimal standard applies. Meaning that a suspicion that a traffic
offense has occurred by you, is sufficient to stop an automobile.
In one of my recent cases my client was stopped for no more than a
dice dangling from the front mirror. Once you are ordered to stop, law enforcement
your auto, under the guise of police safety, e.g. finding
a potential threat such as a
hidden weapon. Searching a parked car requires a warrant, unless
it is a traffic related tow, in which case the vehicle may be
searched for inventory purposes only. The legality of this search, again is
not intended to be addressed by this article, is a matter beyond the scope of this article and should be discussed with
us in private.
How does one post
Bail is posted by paying the
premium (generally 10% of the face amount) , by cash deposit if you intend
to avoid paying the bail bond premium, or by putting up your real
estate. The Law office of Allen Farshi, will be happy to arrange
for your bail. We work with professional bail bondsmen who will
show up in court or at your residence.. We can often convince the
bail bondsman to post bail up to $100,000 without collateral, so
long as you are employed have a co signor and not otherwise a
flight risk. In a recent attempted murder case, I convinced the
arraignment judge to keep bail at $20,000 even though the
prosecution vehemently objected and wanted my client's bail to be
reset to that of his co defendant's, $300,000.
My bail is set
too high, is there any way to reduce the bail:
Yes. Although bail set consistent
with the bail schedule, is presumptively correct, your attorney should always
ask for a bail reduction hearing, to argue for your bail
reduction. If your attorney prevails, the bail will be
Are executed differently. Often your premises may be searched
without a warrant. Again a matter beyond the scope of this
preceding paragraphs are for information purposes only, do not constitute any legal advice or opinion, and is not intended as
either a substitute for
advise of an attorney. As you may have noted, every rule and
procedure has it's exceptions. This is why it is always advisable
that you consult your attorney and to not presume that any article
of this nature will equip you with sufficient knowledge and
information to draw any legal conclusions.
Additionally, this page is kept current only as our time allows,
and the information given here may not be current. We make NO
GUARANTEES as to the accuracy of the information herein and
you should not rely on it. Our practice is limited to the State of
Copyright 2006 © Allen Farshi, Esq.