Feb 292016

We’re doing a series of videos in which we talk about changes to the law that took place on January 1st, 2016, here in the state of California.

In this video we will be discussing a change to Penal Code section 1016.3. This is a really important change to the law or at least potentially a very important change to the law.

If you’re someone who is not a full-fledged US citizen and is now being accused of a crime somewhere here in the state of California – and this applies to everyone:

  • whether they have no status at all
  • or whether they have presence here on a Visa
  • or presence here is a lawful permanent resident

– No matter what, if you are not a full-fledged citizen, any criminal accusation in any criminal offense can have real status consequences for you.

You can potentially be deported.  You can potentially be denied readmission, so if you leave you can’t come back.  You can potentially be denied naturalization, so if you’re a lawful permanent resident you hope to become a citizen one day, certain kinds of criminal offenses can keep you from becoming a citizen.  It’s really important to be aware of these things.

The change in the Law

Now defense attorneys have for a long time now been told that it’s their responsibility to keep you advised of this and make sure that you’re not accidentally doing something that’s going to impact the rest of your life just by pleading to a certain misdemeanor offense.

But the change in the law is that now prosecutors are being told by the state legislature, you, Mr. Prosecutor or Ms Prosecutor, must consider the potential adverse consequences to someone’s immigration status if you are negotiating a plea bargain.

What’s happened before, and I can tell you from personal experience is that you go to court, and the defense attorney says “look I need to change the plea to this or that because otherwise there are some really serious consequences for my client, and that’s just not fair because they’re a lawful permanent resident.  They’re not a citizen.” etcetera etcetera. And the prosecutor looks at you and says “So what? I’m not going to treat anybody any differently.”

That logic didn’t really make sense, and the legislature has now said “No.  You, Mr. or Ms Prosecutor, must consider this. You shall consider this and shall consider the potential adverse immigration consequences when you’re negotiating a plea bargain.”
Now, you as an individual person or someone who’s accused of a crime or someone has a family member who’s accused of a crime

You’re not going to be able to make use of this law yourself.  But it is really important that you know that your defense counsel has informed you of all the appropriate immigration consequences, is aware of this law, and is using this law and all the other tools at his or her disposal in order to make sure that your status is being protected here in the United States.

A Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

A simple misdemeanor accusation can have ramifications for you and your entire family’s future if you’re not careful.  So if you are someone who is not a full-fledged US citizen, and you know you are faced with immigration consequences as a result of a criminal case, I encourage you to make sure that you reach out, seek a free consultation.  Our office offers free consultations.  You’re welcome to give me a call.  We’ll see what we can do to help

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