Benefits of Striking a Prior Conviction
There are several benefits of having a prior conviction stricken from your record, including:
- It makes it impossible for anyone to see the prior arrest record
- The prior conviction won't show up in background checks
- It makes it more possible to secure public benefits, employment opportunities, housing, or college admission
- Prosecuting attorneys will not use the prior strike when sentencing for future offenses
Section 1385 of the Penal Code
Pursuant to California Penal Code Section 1385(a), "The judge or magistrate may, either of his or her own motion or upon the application of the prosecuting attorney and in furtherance of justice, order an action to be dismissed. The reasons for the dismissal shall be stated orally on the record." This may also be referred to as the Romero motion.
When Can It Be Used?
Under California law, a Romero motion may be filed by a defense attorney when the defendant has been charged with a violent felony offense or a minor crime if the offender has prior strikes on his or her criminal record and faces the possibility of harsher sentencing and other devastating ramifications if convicted. The defense attorney may file the motion at any time during the criminal proceeding prior to sentencing.
What Factors Are Considered?
When ruling on a motion to dismiss a strike, the presiding judge may consider the following factors:
- The nature of the current crime, to ensure that it is not a violent felony
- The defendant's age when the prior offenses were perpetrated
- The offender's criminal history of violence
- Will the penalty be consistent with how serious the current charge is?
- The defendant's mental state of health
- The role the defendant played in the current offense
- Whether the prior conviction was due to a single incident
- The severity of the bodily injuries or harm suffered by the victim
- Whether the defendant regretted his actions, showed remorse, and cooperated with law enforcement
- The defendant's future
- The ability and willingness of the defendant to rehabilitate themself
What Factors Will the Judge NOT Consider?
When ruling on a Romero motion, the judge must NOT consider:
- The court convenience as a factor
- Whether the defendant agreed to plead guilty
- The effect of the law or sentencing on the defendant
- The severity of the result
- The defendant's background
- The circumstances surrounding the crime and other personal considerations
Work With an Experienced Attorney
Even long after completing your sentence successfully, a criminal conviction can still have harmful collateral consequences on your quality of life, freedom, education, and professional opportunities. Fortunately, striking a prior conviction from your criminal record can help you get back on your feet or ensure that the prosecution does not use it as a factor in another sentencing. When trying to have a prior conviction stricken, it is important to retain a knowledgeable California strike prior convictions attorney to protect your rights and for detailed guidance.
At McCready Law Group, I have dedicated my career to offering experienced legal guidance and reliable representation to clients who have prior convictions, arrests, or a criminal record. With eight years of active service with the Los Angeles Police Department, I have a comprehensive understanding of the law and can help you navigate the California criminal justice system.
As your legal counsel, I will fight vigorously on your behalf to protect your rights, strike previous convictions, and offer you the second chance you deserve or ensure that you do not receive harsher sentencing for subsequent offenses. Having me on your side can potentially improve your prospects of having your prior conviction stricken. Reach out to my firm today to schedule a case evaluation and take advantage of my extensive legal experience, knowledge, and understanding.