Category: Weapons Offenses

Weapons Offenses | No Cuffs

Holidays are the Most Dangerous Time of the Year

The Holidays are not normally the natural thought for the “most dangerous time of the year.”

The holiday season supposedly brings tidings of joy and good cheer. But, according to crime trends and annual police reports, the holidays also bring an increase in domestic violence, alcohol crimes, and gun offenses. If you’ve been accused of a crime during the holiday season, you don’t have to rely on Santa to bring you a good criminal defense lawyer- the lawyers at the Kavinoky Law Firm have you covered.

While it’s unknown exactly why crime increases during the holiday season, it’s safe to assume the stress of the holidays help expedite the transformation of rage into violence and that the festivities of the season encourage alcohol consumption, often irresponsibly.

Domestic Violence

Though domestic violence tends to increase during the holidays, the National Domestic Violence Hotline states that calls to the hotline actually drop dramatically on major holidays. The reason? Many women will choose to deal with the violence temporarily so their children don’t have to spend the holidays in a shelter. While drugs and alcohol may play into the upsurge of domestic violence during the holidays, simply being “forced” to spend more time together seems to be strongest spark.


Though ‘celebratory gunfire’ is a custom for some during the holidays, this act is dangerous. It is also illegal, and considered a prosecutable firearms offense charge . The City and County of Los Angeles do not tolerate the practice and are now using “Shotspotter” to find the culprits. Shotspotter delivers the world’s “most powerful, most scalable and most trust gunshot detection solutions…all over the world.” According to the police, those caught face prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.

DUI’s During the Holidays

The amount of DUI-related deaths and accidents increase between Thanksgiving and the end of New Year’s weekend. In fact, this part of the holidays is referred to as “DUI Season.”

In an effort to combat drunk-driving-related deaths and injuries during the holidays, law enforcement amps it up. Agencies nationwide increase their patrols and execute DUI checkpoints. Companies like AAA encourage drivers to utilize Tipsy Tow. This is a great service which offers free rides and a vehicle tow up to seven miles to drivers. If you are intoxicated or under the influence on New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July, call Tipsy Tow. You can ask for a ride and a tow by calling 1-800-400-4222.

If you are facing a driving under the influence charge, you need a lawyer. Perhaps you acted a bit trigger happy on New Year’s Eve and have a weapons charge, you need a lawyer.  Also, if you’re looking an a domestic violence charge, you need a lawyer. For all of these things, a criminal defense lawyer is the very best person for your case. Your attorney will help you every step of the way.

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Weapons Offenses

Weapons offenses in California are complicated. As circumstances change, so do penalties.


Weapons Charges

Though the right to keep and bear arms is legal per the United States Constitution,weapons offenses there are regulations. These regulations govern when and how one might use those firearms. California laws covering weapons is complex and can be confusing. Oftentimes, it needs the evaluation of an attorney who specializes in criminal law.

A weapons charge in the state of California is a very serious offense. For those found guilty, it carries severe fines and penalties. Now, most weapons charges are felonies. However, in some cases, possession of a weapon is only a misdemeanor.  What’s more, if you possess a firearm illegally, you face a mandatory jail sentence upon conviction. The minimum penalties increase following multiple convictions.

Common Penalties for Weapons Offenses

The most common gun charge in the state of California is unlawful possession of a firearm (example having a gun without a permit.)  Hence, this is a only misdemeanor charge. However, it can still carry a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to one year in jail.

Other weapons offenses in the state of California include, but are not limited to:

  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Selling a firearm
  • Possession of an assault weapon
  • Brandishing a deadly weapon and/or firearm, and
  • Using a gun while committing a crime (robbery, assault, drug offenses)

Most people assume weapons refer strictly to guns, but this is not the case. A deadly weapon is defined very broadly and includes knives, daggers, brass knuckles, or even a motor vehicle if it is used with malicious intent.

Weapons charges in the state of California tend to result in harsh punishments. As a matter of fact, they often include the prospect of jail time, expensive fines, and a permanent criminal record. Consequently, that makes it difficult to obtain housing and employment down the road

Felony weapons charges often result in jail time. Factors which impact the results of a trail include:

  1. The type of offense,
  2. The defendant’s criminal record, and
  3. Circumstances surrounding the arrest. These may include drug use and intent with the weapon.

If you or someone you know is facing weapons charges, your attorney works for the best outcome. This law firm focuses on working with our clients toward the best result. These results include:

  • Making all necessary court motions
  • Interviewing witnesses connected to your case
  • Preparing your case for trial, and
  • Seeking alternative sentencing

Hire an Attorney

The Kavinoky Law firm hires the best criminal defense attorneys in California. In fact, our excellent and experienced attorneys work hard to fight for their clients’ rights. Furthermore, if you find yourself on the wrong side of the law, call 1.800.No.Cuffs for a free consultation. 

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Sealing Audit Records

Sealing and Destruction Of Records (California Penal Code 851.8)

With more sophisticated computers and increasing laws designed to be tough on criminal offenders, privacy is fast becoming a concern for everyone; especially individuals with a criminal record. While they say we learn from our mistakes, no one wants their criminal records public. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to get criminal records sealed. Once records are sealed it limits public access. In these cases, the offense is deemed not to have occurred and the records are subsequently destroyed. The skilled California defense lawyers of The Kavinoky Law Firm are experienced in all aspects of petitioning to have criminal records sealed and destroyed.

Sealing and destruction of records is a good option in certain cases and more difficult in others. Under California penal code 851.8, an innocent person arrested for or charged with a crime may be able to have the records sealed by obtaining a declaration of “factual innocence.” A finding of factual innocence is generally initiated by motion and requires a judge’s approval.

In general, someone is deemed to be factually innocent if no reasonable cause exists to believe he or she committed the offense. The procedure for obtaining a certificate of factual innocence vary depending on whether formal charges are filed, but the result is the same: All records relating to the arrest and charges must be sealed for three years and must subsequently be destroyed. The arrest is deemed never to have occurred.

Often time arrests occur and the person is released and no formal charges are filed. In these cases, the arrestee can petition for a finding of factual innocence to have the arrest records sealed.

When charges were filed but the case was dismissed, a petition for a finding of factual innocence can be made, but it’s in the discretion of the court and the district attorney to grant relief. When a trial results in an acquittal, the judge may find the person factually innocent and order relief.

There are specific evidentiary and timing issues which are important to maximize a successful finding of factual of innocence. Anyone looking into relief under penal code 851.8 should consult with a California criminal defense attorney.

Even in cases where sealing and destruction of records is appropriate, certain exceptions apply. Transcripts of court proceedings, published appellate opinions, and any records relevant to pending lawsuits are exempted. Records will not be destroyed if the conviction is on appeal, jail time was never served, fines unpaid, probation is incomplete, or there is a bench warrant.

There are certain cases when relief under Penal Code 851.8 can be very useful, including:

  • Juvenile misdemeanor arrest and conviction records
  • Marijuana arrests and convictions
  • Drug diversion agency records

Juvenile misdemeanor arrest and conviction records: Sealing of records is often awarded in cases involving minors. The arrest records of a minor may be sealed if he or she was released for lack of probable cause; the juvenile court dismissed the case, or the defendant was acquitted.

This section does not apply to arrests for sex, drug, or traffic offenses. If the court makes the finding required for relief, the records will be sealed and the proceedings will be deemed not to have occurred.

It is rare for a person under age 18 to be convicted of a misdemeanor in adult court but when it does happen, Pen Code §1203.45 provides for the sealing of such records

Marijuana arrests and convictions: In general, while sealing and destruction of records requires court approval, cases such as minor misdemeanor marijuana convictions will be automatically sealed. Records of marijuana arrests and convictions are automatically destroyed two years after the arrest or conviction in cases involving simple possession.

Drug diversion agency records: PC 851.8 provides that drug diversion agency records will be sealed and destroyed.

Employers generally cannot ask job applicants about arrests or detentions that did not result in conviction; convictions for which the record has been ordered sealed or expunged; expungements or as noted above, or participation in a diversion program.

Applicants for peace officer and health care positions are exempted from this rule, and applicants can be asked about arrests for sex or drug offenses. Professions involving young children have also been found to require disclosure for arrests involving sex or drug offenses.

Sealing and destruction of records is a viable option after many California criminal convictions. The experienced California criminal defense attorney of The Kavinoky Law Firm can determine whether an arrest or conviction can be sealed and destroyed. Contact them today for a free consultation.

Hit-and-Run–Property Damage

It’s a crime in California to leave the scene after being involved in or causing an accident. Any driver who does so can be charged with misdemeanor or felony hit-and-run. The severity of the charges depends on whether the accident involved property damage, bodily injury, or death. Regardless of the charges, it’s imperative to have an expert defense attorney protecting the driver’s rights. The skilled defense lawyers of The Kavinoky Law Firm are experienced in every aspect of defending California hit-and-run cases, and will work hard to minimize or even eliminate the consequences for a driver charged with leaving the scene of an accident.

Leaving the scene of an accident that involves only property damage is a less serious offense in California than hit-and-run involving bodily injury or death, but the driver still faces serious repercussions. A driver convicted of hit-and-run with property damage – even if the driver didn’t cause the accident – faces punishment up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail. In some cases, the driver also must forfeit the vehicle.

If the driver is alleged to have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the hit-and-run crash, there may be a DUI / DWI charge in addition to any allegations of leaving the scene of an accident. A motorist convicted of drunk driving and hit-and-run faces extreme consequences that can include prison time. These are extremely serious charges that require an expert defense attorney.

Fortunately, a driver who is accused of leaving the scene of an accident in California has many options available that may help to soften or even eliminate the consequences of a hit-and-run charge. The first option is to aggressively fight the charges. There are many viable defenses to a California hit-and-run charge. Remember, the prosecutor has the burden of proving the driver’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The defense could offer no evidence at all of the driver’s innocence, and if the prosecutor hasn’t proven the case beyond a reasonable doubt, the driver cannot be convicted.

In some cases, it may be possible to reach what is known as a civil compromise, in which the accused driver agrees to pay for all property damage and medical expenses, if any. If the other party agrees to a civil compromise and the accused driver reimburses all expenses, no criminal charges will be filed in connection with the alleged hit-and-run accident.

Certain cases require creative resolutions on the part of both the defense and the prosecution. The driver may be eligible for alternative sentencing such as community service or other options that can reduce or even eliminate a potential jail sentence. Other options may include CalTrans work or electronic monitoring. Although some sentencing alternatives may seem less than desirable, anything that helps the accused hit-and-run driver avoid time in jail is well worth considering.

Another option in a California hit-and-run case is a plea bargain. With the help of an experienced defense lawyer, the driver may be able to plead guilty to a lesser charge with reduced repercussions. However, a plea bargain should be just what the name implies – a good deal for both the driver and the prosecutor. The prosecution is more likely to offer a favorable plea bargain when it’s case isn’t particularly strong.

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding a California hit-and-run arrest, the experienced defense lawyers of The Kavinoky Law Firm will be able to reduce or even eliminate the consequences. Contact a skilled defense attorney today for a free consultation.

What Are Sex Crimes?

What Are Sex Crimes?

In California, sex offenses are aggressively prosecuted and heavily punished. They include a variety of criminal sexual behaviors and are typically charged as felonies, though some lesser offenses are charged as misdemeanors. Although the penalties for sex crime convictions are severe and can be life-changing, there are a number of defenses available that the skilled criminal attorneys at The Kavinoky Law Firm know how to effectively apply. The following is a list and brief description of some of the most commonly charged California sex offenses:

Internet pornography targeting a minor (otherwise known as sexually exploiting a child) may be charged when an adult knowingly develops or exchanges any data or images that depict a minor engaged in sexual conduct. Advertising or distributing obscene materials or possessing such materials with the same content can also result in criminal charges.

Lewd or lascivious acts, California Penal Code 288, may be filed as a felony against an individual who willfully and purposefully commits a lewd or lascivious act with a child under the age of 14 or as a misdemeanor or felony against a person who does so with a child who is 14 or 15 years old if the accused is at least 10 years older than the child.

Rape may be charged when an individual has sexual intercourse with another (who is not the spouse of the accused) either against that person’s will or without that person’s consent. Spousal rape will be charged under the same circumstances when the alleged victim and the accused are married to each other. Statutory rape may be charged under any circumstances where the alleged victim is a minor. Oral copulation can be charged under any of the above circumstances if the accused either gives or receives oral sex and the same can be said for a sodomy charge if an individual’s penis or anus comes into contact with the penis or anus of another. If the accused uses a foreign object to penetrate the genital or anal opening of another under any of these circumstances, he or she may face prosecution for that as well.

Indecent exposure may be filed when an individual either exposes him or herself or persuades another to do so in a public place (or in a private home without consent) that is either offensive or done to provoke vicious or lewd thoughts.

The criminal charges of prostitution (California Penal Code 647b) and/or pimping and pandering will result if an individual solicits a prostitute, runs a “brothel” (also known as a house of prostitution) or procures another for the purpose of prostitution. If the accused is pimping a minor or pandering with a minor, special penalties will apply.

Crimes that apply to families include bigamy, which will be charged if an individual is simultaneously married to more than one person, and incest, which takes place when family members either marry or have sexual relationships with one another.

An individual who sexually assaults an animal for his or her own sexual gratification will be charged with sexually assaulting an animal.

Abduction for marriage may be charged against an individual who either forces a woman to marry him or another, or against an individual who causes a woman to be defiled.

If an individual commits an act (or fails to perform a required duty) that is sexual in nature against a minor and thereby causes that minor to become a dependant of the state, he or she will be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Further, any sex offense that is committed against a minor will likely result in enhanced sentencing, as that is typically considered an aggravating factor.

Criminal prosecution may also face those who attempt to commit certain sex crimes, even if the attempt fails. It is also worth noting that individuals who commit specific sex crimes more than once will face harsher punishment with each subsequent offense.

The experienced criminal defense lawyers at The Kavinoky Law Firm are well-versed in sex crime defense and pride themselves on their unsurpassed level of service. For outstanding legal advice and caring and discreet representation, contact them for a free consultation.

Relief from Sex Offender Registration

Relief from Sex Offender Registration

California Penal Code 290 requires individuals convicted of certain sex crimes to register as sex offenders. Registration is typically for life, and can subject a person to severe humiliation, isolation, physical harm and difficulties in securing and/or maintaining employment and/or housing. Fortunately, relief is available for those who qualify, and the exceptional criminal defense lawyers at The Kavinoky Law Firm know the procedures, requirements and arguments that most effectively achieve success.

The possibility of escaping sex offender registration is if the registered individual was convicted of either engaging in sodomy with another consenting adult or of oral copulation under the same circumstances prior to January 1, 1976. By 1976, these activities were decriminalized between consenting adults, and an individual who was convicted of such a sex offense is discharged from the duty to register if he or she has no other offenses for which registration is required.

A less specific and more common approach lies in the Certificate of Rehabilitation and Pardon. A person who obtains such a certificate may be relieved of the duty to register under Penal Code 290, if the offense for which he or she was convicted meets certain statutory requirements, and if she or she is not otherwise in custody, on parole or on probation.

A Certificate of Rehabilitation and Pardon will relieve an individual from the registration requirement if the certificate was granted prior to January 1, 1998 and was for a violation of lewd or lascivious acts or for the continuous sexual abuse of a child, provided that the person was granted probation because he or she was a member of the victim’s household, that probation was in the best interest of the child victim, that probation was feasible, that the defendant was removed from the victim’s home until the court determined that the best interests of the victim were served by allowing the defendant back into the home, that the defendant was successfully treated and that he or she complied with the registration requirements for a period of at least 10 years immediately preceding the filing of the petition and had not been convicted of a felony during that period.

A person who has been convicted of specific sex offenses will not be relieved of the duty to register by a Certificate of Rehabilitation but may be able to secure a full pardon. These offenses include most instances of rape, including rape or penetration when acting in concert, enticing an unmarried female minor into prostitution (when charged as a felony), obtaining consent to a sexual act through fraud with an intent to create fear in the victim (when charged as a felony), procuring a minor under the age of 16 for lewd or lascivious acts, abducting a minor for prostitution, the aggravated sexual assault of a minor, most instances of sodomy, lewd or lascivious acts, most instances of oral copulation, continuously sexually abusing a child, and most felony acts involving forcible acts of penetration. It follows that crimes not specifically referenced are eligible for registration relief by way of a Certificate of Rehabilitation and Pardon.

When a full pardon (or Governor’s Pardon) is an individual’s only option for seeking relief of Penal Code 290 registration, he or she must demonstrate a high standard of constructive behavior following his or her conviction. Pardons are limited to those who can demonstrate that they have lead meaningful, productive and law-abiding lives following their convictions.

When seeking a Certificate of Rehabilitation or a full pardon in an effort to relieve oneself of the registration requirements that are imposed by California Penal Code 290, it is vital to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can make sure that the appropriate forms and procedures are followed, and that the most convincing arguments are articulately conveyed. The skilled attorneys at The Kavinoky Law Firm excel in the complexities related to California sex crime law and defense and are well qualified to help an individual desiring such relief. Contact The Kavinoky Law Firm today for a free consultation and to begin the expungement and healing process.


Sex offender management: how registered sex offenders are tracked

Sex offender management: how registered sex offenders are tracked

In California, when an individual is convicted of certain sex crimes, he or she is required to register as a sex offender (under Penal code 290) with a local law enforcement agency. Prior to being released from jail or prison or prior to being placed on probation, the individual will be notified in writing of his or her duty to register, as will the Department of Justice (DOJ).

This information is maintained in the sex offender tracking program at the DOJ (available to the public under certain circumstances on the Internet) where each individual’s upcoming required update (and any violation of that update) is tracked. The DOJ updates its database daily, based on the information that it receives from reporting law enforcement agencies and it retains all records for 75 years following the disposition of an individual’s case.

Once registered, an individual’s personal information, including a photo, address, identifying information, aliases and relevant criminal history may be found online at meganslaw, which is the California website run by the DOJ. However, about 25% of registered offenders will not appear on the Internet, as they are excluded from public disclosure. Whether or not one’s information is publicly available depends on the specific sex crime that he or she was convicted of, as persons convicted of the “less serious” offenses are either automatically excluded or may apply for exclusion (available when the offender is the victim’s parent, stepparent, sibling or grandparent, when the offense didn’t involve specified acts and if the accused is currently on or has successfully completed probation).

Information that appears online is divided into three groups. The first group contains the most serious offenses and lists the offender’s complete address. The second group contains the slightly less serious offenses and will include the offender’s complete address (if the offender has a prior registerable offense) or only the offender’s zip code if the offense is his or her first. The final group contains offenses that only reveal the offender’s zip code. A qualified California sex crime criminal defense lawyer can tell an individual under which group his or her offense falls.

The skilled criminal attorneys at The Kavinoky Law Firm specialize in California sex crime defense and are an individual’s best chance of avoiding public disclosure on the Internet. They know that the dissemination of an offender’s personal information doesn’t only affect his or her reputation, but affects housing and job opportunities and may even lead to severe harassment and physical harm. They understand the variety of ways that Internet exposure can be circumvented and will do their best to plead their clients to offenses that do not require public online disclosure, to plead their clients to offenses for which they may apply for exclusion, to plead their clients to misdemeanors (on wobbler offenses) where the misdemeanor does not require public disclosure or to plead their clients to a greater offense that may carry a more severe jail or prison sentence but that is not sexually related, thus avoiding lifetime registration and the humiliation and isolation that frequently results from this devastating penalty.

It must be noted that the laws regarding sex offender registration and related Internet regulations are constantly changing and becoming stricter. California is in the process of implementing a program known as SARATSO (State-Authorized Risk Assessment Tool for Sex Offenders). Once implemented, every person required to register as a sex offender will be subject to its provisions. SARATSO will undoubtedly have extensive effects on probation vs. prison, the length of sentences and the conditions that relate to prison, parole and Internet exposure. This is perhaps one of the most important reasons why an individual accused with a California sex crime must contact the unsurpassed attorneys at The Kavinoky Law Firm who receive ongoing education and training with respect to this ever-changing complex and unique area of the law, which is directly responsible for their outstanding results. Contact them today for a free consultation, for the most trusted legal advice and for the very best representation.


Punishments and Defenses for Crimes Relating to Obscene Materials

Punishments and Defenses for Crimes Relating to Obscene Materials

Possessing, distributing, publishing, etc. obscene matter is a misdemeanor (for a first conviction) and a felony (with a maximum $50,000 fine) if a prior conviction exists for a related offense. In addition, $5 and/or one day in jail are imposed for every unit of obscene material involved in the offense, up to an additional $10,000 or 360 days in jail. Participating in these activities knowing the material depicts a minor engaged in or simulating sexual conduct requires sex offender registration under Penal Code 290 and is a wobbler, punishable by up to one year in jail and a maximum $1,000 fine, or by imprisonment in state prison and a maximum $10,000 fine. Engaging in this known behavior for commercial consideration is a felony, punishable by two, three or six years in prison and a maximum $100,000 fine. Participating in these activities with an adult who is also going to engage in these activities is a wobbler, punishable by up to one year in jail and a maximum $2,000 fine, or a prison sentence. If the material is sold, distributed, etc. to a minor, it is a felony. These last three offenses also require sex offender registration.

Hiring a minor to distribute, publish, etc. these materials requires sex offender registration, and, for a first offense, is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a maximum $2,000 fine, or a felony with a maximum $50,000 fine if the incurred suffered a prior conviction for this or for sexually exploiting a child. Persuading or coercing a minor into posing for or performing an obscene act is a felony and, if done for commercial purposes, is punishable by three, six or eight years in prison. The penalties rise if the participating minor was under 14 years of age.

Advertising or promoting obscene materials is a misdemeanor and includes the additional $5 charge and one-day sentence penalty described above. Managing, producing, sponsoring or exhibiting obscene live conduct is also a misdemeanor, as is requiring receipt of obscene materials as a condition of sale or delivery. A second offense raises the fine from $1,000 to $2,000, and having a third prior conviction for any related offense raises the charge to a felony.

Distributing or exhibiting illicit materials to minors or failing to prevent minors from accessing such materials is a misdemeanor for a first offense, and felony for a subsequent offense.

Sex crimes relating to obscene materials are defensible if the act charged was committed to aid legitimate scientific, medical or educational purposes, or if the matter portrayed lawful conduct between spouses (even if one or both are under the age of 18) or by a legally emancipated minor. Crimes alleging telephone distribution of obscene matter to minors are defensible if reasonable steps were taken to prevent unauthorized access to anyone under 18 – either requiring the recipient to use a pre-authorized access code or requiring credit card payment before the matter is transmitted. Parents are permitted to show obscene matter to their children and are also allowed to attend obscene exhibitions with their children. Those who exhibit obscene matter to minors accompanied by their parents are also exempt from prosecution. Finally, material that is admittedly obscene by applying the "average person test" may be lawfully distributed if used (in good faith) exclusively within a professional group pursuing legitimate professional purposes, is germane to such purposes, is not likely to be viewed by others, and will not likely appeal to prurient interests of the average person within the group.

The experienced California sex crime criminal attorneys at The Kavinoky Law Firm will thoroughly investigate the facts to uncover these types of defenses. They specialize in obscene material laws, enabling them to ensure that all applicable defense strategies are explored and articulated in the most favorable and effective ways. With law offices in Los Angeles and throughout California, they are conveniently located for anyone in need of an outstanding California sex crime defense lawyer. Contact them today for a free consultation and for unparalleled legal representation.


Certificate of Rehabilitation and a Governor’s Pardon

Certificate of Rehabilitation and a Governor’s Pardon

An individual seeking to expunge a California sex crime conviction from his or her criminal record has three options: An expungement, a Certificate of Rehabilitation And Pardon and/or a Governor’s Pardon. If the conviction was for a misdemeanor or a felony where probation was granted, where a state prison sentence was not imposed and where the sex offense didn’t require registration as a sex offender, the individual would seek expungement. If a felony resulted and state prison was imposed, or if the conviction were a misdemeanor or a felony that required sex offender registration, the individual would apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation or would directly apply for a Governor’s Pardon, depending on the specific sex offense committed. In order to ensure that the proper forms are filed, that the proper procedure is followed, and that the most compelling arguments are articulately conveyed, only a qualified criminal defense lawyer should be the choice to complete this process.

A Certificate of Rehabilitation is applicable to sex offenses (whether sentenced as misdemeanors or felonies), if specified in Penal Code 290 and a state prison sentence wasn’t imposed. Even under those circumstances, there are five offenses that are ineligible for certificate relief, and these include sodomy with a person under 14 years of age who is 10 years younger than the accused or that was accomplished by force or threats, oral copulation under those same circumstances, lewd or lascivious acts, continuously sexually abusing a child, and forcible acts of penetration. If convicted of one of these crimes or of two or more felonies, an individual must directly apply for a Governor’s Pardon.

Eligibility for a certificate (in addition to the requirements set forth above), includes being a California resident for at least five years before requesting the relief, and, for an additional five years (or seven years if convicted of distributing obscene matter for commercial purposes (knowing that the matter depicts a minor involved in sexual activity), of distributing such material directly to a minor, of advertising obscene materials (knowing that the matter depicts a minor, of sexually exploiting a child, and for certain lewd or lascivious acts involving indecent exposure), leading an honest life, free from any further convictions. If convicted of a crime requiring Penal Code 290 registration, the individual seeking relief must first have his or her conviction dismissed in line with expungement procedures before applying for a certificate.

A Certificate of Rehabilitation declares that an individual has been rehabilitated. If granted, the certificate relieves an individual of the requirement to register as a sex offender if the crime for which he or she was convicted is not specifically excluded from this relief. Once approved, the certificate is forwarded to the Governor and acts as an application for a pardon, which may be granted without further investigation.

A Governor’s Pardon relieves an individual of the lifetime obligation to register as a sex offender, but doesn’t automatically restore a license, permit or certificate that was revoked at the time of the conviction. It should be noted that an individual convicted of one of the above listed – sex offenses that are ineligible for certificate relief will only be granted a pardon under extraordinary circumstances, which is why it is so important to have an experienced attorney complete the application process to increase one’s chances of success. A pardon is reserved for those individuals who prove that they have lead meaningful, productive lives for at least ten years (less, under extreme circumstances) since their convictions. An individual who has incurred two felony convictions may directly apply for this relief, but must have the recommendation of a majority of the Supreme Court Justices to do so. Although a Certificate of Rehabilitation will be considered when the Governor contemplates granting a pardon, it will not be the only factor measured.

For more information about how to apply for a certificate or a pardon, contact the exceptional criminal defense attorneys at The Kavinoky Law Firm today for a free consultation and unequaled legal representation.


Expunging Sex Crimes From One’s Criminal Record

Expunging Sex Crimes From One’s Criminal Record

Crimes in California fall under three main categories: Misdemeanors, felonies and wobblers. The expungement of one’s criminal record that contains a sex crime conviction may be possible, depending on the category under which the sex offense was sentenced. If seeking such relief, it is absolutely necessary to hire a skilled criminal defense lawyer who is familiar with the ways in which expungements are permitted, and who knows the most effective ways to convince the court that this type of relief is appropriate.

Expunging one’s record essentially means clearing one’s record. It is a process by which an individual’s court file is sealed, allowing an individual to honestly claim, under most circumstances, that he or she has no criminal history. Expungement is most useful to those desiring gainful employment, housing security, funding for higher education, and simple peace of mind.

Those who were convicted of California sex crimes (either misdemeanors or felonies without a prison sentence, where probation was granted) may be entitled to an expungement. Under these circumstances, an individual may be permitted to withdraw his or her Guilty or No Contest plea to enter a Not Guilty plea, or will have his or her guilty verdict set aside if convicted following a trial. If the defendant’s probation was terminated early at the request of his or her attorney or expired after the defendant met all of his or her obligations, if he or she is not on probation for or serving another sentence and is not charged with another offense, the court must dismiss the underlying charge. If, however, the offender incurred a violation while on probation, it is within the court’s discretion whether or not to grant the expungement.

For procedural and strategic reasons, a knowledgeable defense attorney will likely ask the court to reduce a wobbler to a misdemeanor prior to moving for the expungement, as it is better to have a dismissed misdemeanor on one’s record than a dismissed felony. It must be noted, however, that even if a wobbler is reduced, if it originally counted as a “strike” under California’s Three Strikes Law, it will continue to do so.

Although it has many benefits, having one’s conviction expunged does not completely cleanse one’s record. There are a variety of circumstances where an individual must still disclose the conviction, and these include applying for licensure by any state or local agency, contracting with the California State Lottery, and applying for public office. Perhaps most significant is the fact that an expungement does not relieve one’s requirement to register as a sex offender, pursuant to Penal Code 290 if previously ordered to do so. Finally, there are certain sex offenses (for example, distributing obscene materials to a minor) that, if committed more than once, automatically rise from misdemeanors to felonies. Even if an individual’s record is expunged, that prior offense will still count towards the enhanced sentence.

Those who have incurred felony convictions for their sex crimes that resulted in state prison sentences are ineligible for expungement and must apply for either a certificate of rehabilitation and/or a full pardon. Certificates are available to those who have been California residents for at least three years, and who have lead an honest life, free from criminal convictions for a specified amount of time, determined by the underlying offense. If approved, the governor receives a copy of the certificate, which becomes an application for a pardon. Certain sex crimes are excluded from this relief, and an individual convicted of such an offense must directly apply for a pardon. Pardons are reserved for those who have demonstrated exceptional reform.

An individual who wishes to pursue a sex crime expungement must contact a qualified California sex offense attorney. The experienced sex crime defense lawyers at The Kavinoky Law Firm know the most effective ways to apply for relief and will guide their clients employing the utmost skill and diligence. For unparalleled assistance in expunging one’s sex crime conviction, contact them today for a free consultation.