Newly-Enacted PC 1473.7 Vacates Old Convictions

On January 1, 2017, California Penal Code section 1473.7 went into effect. This is good news for non-citizens who wish to vacate old convictions, but who are no longer in custody or on probation.

There are two main grounds under which to file a motion under PC 1473.7: (1) a prejudicial error damaging the defendant’s ability to meaningfully understand, defend against, or knowingly accept the actual or potential adverse immigration consequences of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, or (2) newly discovered evidence of actual innocence.  This law was designed to help non-citizens who were provided ineffective assistance of counsel regarding the immigration consequences of their guilty pleas.

Before the enactment of PC 1473.7, if a noncitizen was no longer serving a sentence or on probation, they were not able to vacate a guilty plea based on the above-mentioned grounds for filing this motion. Now, non-citizens with even very old convictions can file this new motion to vacate a conviction with harsh immigration consequences.

Because this new law vacates a conviction based on a legal defect, the result is that the conviction is eliminated for all purposes, including immigration purposes.

The full text of the new law can be found here.


2 thoughts on “Newly-Enacted PC 1473.7 Vacates Old Convictions”

    1. Prior to the enactment of this new penal code, only individuals who were still in custody or on probation could bring a motion to vacate their convictions based on prejudicial error or newly-discovered evidence. This is what is known as a writ of habeas corpus. After people had completed their probation and/or sentence, they were unable to bring a motion to vacate their conviction. Now, with PC 1473.7, even people who have completed their probation/served their sentence can file a motion to vacate a conviction, even if it has been years since the completion of probation and/or the sentence.


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