The Decision to plead “Guilty” or “No Contest” can Effect Subsequent Civil Cases in California
We live in a litigious society where civil law suits commonly follow criminal cases. Pleading “guilty” or “no contest” can have an effect on a subsequent civil case relating to your criminal matter. A jury verdict, or a plea of “guilty” in a criminal case can have collateral estoppel effect in a civil case. A plea of “no contest” to a misdemeanor criminal offense may have no collateral estoppel effect in a later civil proceeding. See Pease v Pease (1988) 201 CA3d 29. In contrast, a prior conviction resulting from a criminal trial that litigated the same issues as the subsequent civil case may have collateral estoppel effect.
Collateral estoppel precludes a party from litigating the same issues in a second action against the same party in a later proceeding.
Collateral estoppel is met when (1) A claim or issue raised in the present action is identical to a claim or issue litigated in a prior proceeding; (2) the prior proceeding resulted in a final judgment on the merits; and (3) the party whom the doctrine is being asserted against was a party or in the prior proceeding.
An administrative agency’s (like the California DMV) decision favoring a defendant will be given collateral estoppel effect in a criminal court when the agency decision was reached in a judicial-like adversary proceeding that gave both parties the opportunity to fully litigate the issue with a final agency decision on the merits. For example, the dismissal of a criminal case by the District Attorney’s Office can have a collateral estoppel effect against the DMV license revocation proceeding.
Before entering a plea in any criminal case, it is always best to consult with an attorney who can advise you on your legal rights. Please call our office at (408) 816-2311.Read More
The Process to Clear a Criminal Record
To begin the process to clear a criminal record expungement, an attorney will file a motion to clear the criminal record with attached declarations with the Court. The motion to clear the criminal record will include an order for dismissal, and proof of service. After the documents are filed with the Court clerk, the hearing is set for oral argument. The oral argument will be between the person clearing their record, and the District Attorneys office. The Court usually hears oral argument on the motion to clear the criminal record 30 to 60 days after the motion is filed.
It is possible to clear a felony record. In order to expunge a felony conviction from your record, your attorney must first reduce the felony to a misdemeanor. The District Attorney and the Probation Office usually opposes felony record clearances. Therefore, it is important to work with an experienced attorney to clear your criminal record.
The Alameda County District Attorney, and the Santa Clara County District Attorney often challenge motions to expunge. However, the attorneys at the Bay Area Law Center have experience in overcoming prosecution objections and winning the order to expunge.
If the judge denies your motion to clear your record, it is not the end of the road. If you believe you can convince a judge that you have changed, you can apply again for a motion to clear a conviction. If the Court grants your motion to clear your record, your plea will be revoked and the charges against you will be dropped.Read More
Yes! If you have been convicted of a felony crime and would like to clear this conviction from your record, California Law provides relief if you are eligible and request it. Felony expungement is similar to misdemeanor expungement, but harder to achieve.
Who is eligible for expungement?
Under California Penal Code §1203.4, a court must dismiss a felony conviction if you were sentenced to jail and/or probation and:
1. You successfully completed probation or obtained early release;
2. You have paid all fines, restitution, and reimbursements that were part of your sentence;
3. You are not currently serving another sentence;
4. You are not on probation for another offense; AND
5. You are not currently charged with another offense.
A court may expunge a charge, using its discretionary authority, if you are currently on probation or were previously sentenced to probation and did not fulfill all probation conditions. To be eligible for discretionary expungement, you must pay all fines, restitution, and reimbursements. You cannot have any current charges against you, must not be on probation for another offense and must not be serving another sentence.Read More