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Relief Extended to State Prison Felonies (with Exceptions). PC 1203.41

Under the newly amended PC 120.41, the court can now allow a person convicted of a felony to withdraw their plea of guilty or nolo contendere and plead not guilty. More so, if a court passed a "guilty" verdict after a defendant pleads not guilty, the court can set aside its guilty verdict and dismiss all accusations against the defendant.

If granted relief, the defendant will be free from any penalties arising from the conviction.

This relief became law on September 2022 after the approval of SB 731 and will affect all convictions that occurred before, on, or after January 1, 2021.

Once informed of your right to petition for a change of plea under this section, you can do so in writing through your attorney or probation officer.

Relief from sentencing is granted a year to two years (for defendants sentenced to state prison) after a sentence is completed.

Conditions for Relief under Section 1203.41

Although being granted relief from a conviction gives you the freedom to resume your normal life by reinstating most of your rights, you'll still be limited to some conditions under this section. Those conditions include:

  • This relief does not reinstate your right to drive a motor vehicle where your driver's license has been revoked or suspended under VC 13555.
  • If on parole or still subject to mandatory supervision under section 1170 (h), you aren't eligible for relief. You will also not receive relief if charged with another offense.
  • If sentenced to a state prison for a felony offense that requires registration as a sex offender, you will not be eligible for relief under this section.
  • If prosecuted for another offense, the accusations from your prior conviction can be proved and will bear the same weight as an accusation that was never dismissed.
  • You are obliged to disclose the conviction when applying for public office, or when seeking a license from a state, local, or federal agency or body, or in dealings with the California State Lottery Commission.
  • Dismissal does not give you the right to own a firearm.
  • If prohibited from holding public office as a result of a conviction, this relief does not grant you permission to hold public office.
  • If you petition for a change of plea, you will be required to pay up to $150 to the court, up to $150 to the county, and up to $150 to the city council whether or not your petition is granted. These fees, however, do not determine your eligibility for a petition. Additionally, the court can waive these fees if it determines that charging the fees will cause you undue hardship.
  • For your petition to be granted, your attorney or probation officer must give 15 days' written notice to the prosecuting attorney after filing the petition.
  • Proof of service filed with the court is presumed to imply that the prosecuting attorney has received notice.
  • The prosecuting attorney must appear in court to object to the petition. A prosecuting officer who fails to appear cannot later appeal to the court to set aside the petition.
  • Any criminal protective orders issued against you for domestic violence, injury to a spouse, elder abuse, or stalking, remain effective even after accusations against you are dismissed.
  • Dismissal of accusations against you does not exempt you from criminal record review under the Health and Safety Code or from the effects of the results of that review.
  • If ineligible to provide home-based personal care, dismissal of charges against you does not make you eligible. You'll still be ineligible as per the guidelines provided in the Welfare and Institutions Code.
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