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If you were convicted of or pled guilty to a crime, you do not necessarily have to live with the consequences forever. Various legal procedures exist that could help you challenge your conviction, clear your record, reduce your sentence, or regain the rights you lost.

Consult an Alameda post-conviction relief lawyer for advice about legal steps you could take to make your road ahead a little easier. In most cases there is only a short window after conviction to seek post-conviction relief, so do not delay speaking with an experienced criminal defense attorney. En Español

Habeas Corpus Proceedings in Alameda

A Writ of Habeas Corpus is a petition a person in jail or prison could bring after conviction if they have filed all of their appeals, and have no other options.  The Writ allows the convicted person to raise issues that have not already been considered during the trial and appeals process.

Issues that a person might raise in a Writ for Habeas Corpus may include new evidence that was not available at the time of trial, poor representation by their defense attorney, also called ineffective assistance of counsel, changing laws, claims that the individual was not mentally competent to stand trial, and other potentially relevant issues relating to the crime and conviction. A capable Alameda post-conviction relief attorney could review trial and appellate records to determine if there are issues not previously raised that could support a request for a Writ of Habeas Corpus.

When a court grants a Writ of Habeas Corpus, the court will direct the government to take an action to remedy the injustice. Those actions could include a change in the conditions of the individual’s confinement, a reduction of the charges, or even release from custody.

How Does Post-Conviction Relief Work?

An individual’s criminal record could follow them forever, even long after they have completed their sentence. Having a criminal record could interfere with the ability to find employment, get a professional license, pursue higher education, secure a bank loan, and even find housing. The law offers several legal strategies to clear a criminal record so an individual could move forward in their life without the stigma of a criminal conviction.


California Penal Code §1203.4 allows someone convicted of certain crimes to withdraw their guilty plea or conviction and changes the record to reflect that the case was dismissed.  An expungement essentially seals the criminal record from public access.

Expungement is not available to anyone whose sentence required them to serve time in state prison or certain sex offenders. In addition, an individual is not eligible for expungement if legal fines, court costs, or fees remain unpaid.

Exclusion from Megan’s List

“Megan’s List”  is the public registry of sex offenders in California. Some people convicted of certain sex crimes could petition a court to exclude them from the registry. Consult an experienced Alameda post-conviction relief lawyer to learn whether a motion to be excluded from Megan’s list is a viable legal post-conviction relief option for you.

Certificate of Rehabilitation

A defendant who has completed their sentence and has lived in California for at least five years could apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation (COR) to clear their record. The Certificate is available to convicted felons who served time in state prison, as well as people convicted of misdemeanors whose convictions have been expunged. Applicants must demonstrate that they are rehabilitated and maintain a clean record for a time that varies depending on their crime. Obtaining the COR is the first step in applying for a Governor’s pardon.

Governor’s Pardon

People who have been convicted of a crime in California may apply for a gubernatorial (Governor’s) pardon. The Governor of California cannot grant a pardon for a conviction from another state or a federal proceeding.

There are two ways to apply for a pardon in California: a Certificate of Rehabilitation and a Direct Pardon.

Pardon Application by Certificate of Rehabilitation: One way to apply for a pardon is to first petition for and obtain a Certificate of Rehabilitation from the superior court in the county where the applicant lives. Once a court grants a petition for Certificate of Rehabilitation, the court is required to send the order to the Governor’s Office, where it becomes an automatic application for a pardon. The applicant does not need to take any further action unless contacted by the Governor’s Office or the Board of Parole Hearings.

Pardon Application by Direct Request to the Governor: The second path to apply for a pardon is to submit an application directly to the Governor’s Office.

In both cases, the applicant must notify the district attorney in the county of a conviction for which a pardon application has been submitted.

Before the Governor can grant a pardon application to someone who has two or more felony convictions (in different cases), a majority of the California Supreme Court must first recommend a grant of clemency. The Governor’s Office will send the California Supreme Court the pardon application and all related documents for their review.

Get in Touch with an Alameda Post-Conviction Relief Attorney Today

Our criminal justice system is complex, and it can be easy for an individual to overlook a critical point. If you or a loved one is seeking to have a conviction reconsidered, a criminal record cleared, or a sentence adjusted, get help from a seasoned Post-conviction Relief attorney right away.  Remember, time is of the essence. Schedule a consultation today.

Top-Rated Criminal Defense Lawyers Serving the Bay Area

The Nieves Law Firm is dedicated to providing aggressive criminal defense representation to working professionals who have found themselves in trouble with the law. We show up to win, and we’re not afraid to fight aggressively to accomplish our client’s goals.

We understand that being accused of a crime can be a scary and confusing experience. That’s why we take the stress off our clients by handling the full scope of their legal situation from the initial consultation to the final outcome. Our bilingual attorneys and staff are here to ensure that our clients feel heard and understood every step of the way.

As one of the largest criminal defense teams in Oakland and the Greater Bay Area, we have the resources and experience to handle even the most complex cases. Our experienced team examines various aspects of your case and, perhaps most importantly, we genuinely care about our clients and their future. We take the time to learn about their goals and priorities so that we can achieve an outcome that allows them to move past their mistakes and focus on the future they want. When you work with us, you become part of our team.

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Our skilled criminal defense attorneys have experience handling a wide range of criminal cases. With a deep understanding of the legal system and a track record of successful cases, our lawyers are committed to achieving the best possible outcome in your case.

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When facing a criminal charge, having dedicated and experienced attorneys on your side is critical. At The Nieves Law Firm, we understand the gravity of your situation, and our criminal defense attorneys provide unwavering support and legal guidance.

From the moment you reach out to us, we prioritize your well-being and legal interests. Our criminal lawyers are with you every step of the way, from arrest to hearings and beyond, to ensure that your rights are protected. Whether you’re facing charges related to DUI, drug offenses, assault, sex crimes or any other allegation, we have the knowledge and courtroom experience to fight vigorously on your behalf.

We believe in the power of collaboration and will actively involve you in the decision-making process, ensuring you are well-informed and empowered to make the best choices for your defense. Our goal is not only to navigate the legal complexities but also to provide you with the peace of mind and reassurance you deserve during this challenging time.

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