If you or a loved one is convicted of a crime and sentenced to prison, it is important that you not lose hope. In some cases, it may be possible to modify your sentence so that you do not spend so much time in custody. However, you need to act immediately if you wish to have your sentence modified.
Who is Eligible for Sentence Modification?
There are many reasons why you could be eligible for modification of your prison sentence. Reasons can range from errors made by the court during sentencing to an illness. However, you need to act immediately. The court has only 120 days from the date of sentencing to reconsider a prison sentence.
The court will not modify your sentence unless you and your attorney petition the court that imposed your sentence within this time period. Your petition must show good cause for sentence modification in order to be considered.
So, what are some examples of “good cause” for sentence modification?
Errors by the Court
Like the people they sentence, judges and courts make mistakes. For example, the judge may announce in court that you will serve 2 years for a crime, but the clerk accidentally typed “3 years” into the court’s minutes. The court can amend the minutes to reflect the correct sentence, either on its own, or by petition from your attorney.
Illness of the Defendant
California Penal Code Section 1170(e) allows you or your loved one, when facing a terminal, incurable illness or a permanent incapacity by medical condition, to petition the court to reduce or forego the remainder of your sentence.
The court will review your case and determine if you or your loved one represents a danger to public safety. After reviewing your case, the court can reduce your sentence or order your release.
Occasionally, courts make mistakes by sentencing a defendant in a way that is not legal. For example, if you are convicted of misdemeanor second-degree burglary under California Penal Code Section 459, the maximum sentence you can receive is 364 days in county jail. If the judge sentenced you to two years in state prison, the sentence is illegal and can be modified.
In 2014, California voters passed Proposition 47, which reclassified several crimes that had been felonies to misdemeanors. As a result of this law, persons currently serving sentences for these specific crimes are eligible to have their convictions reduced to misdemeanors, which may result in their release or a reduction in the time they must serve. However, if you are eligible for a reduction under this law, you must petition the court for modification by November 2017.
Writ of Habeas Corpus
If you do not qualify for sentence modification under any of the above circumstances, you should speak to your attorney about filing a writ of habeas corpus.
If you were sentenced to jail or prison, your lawyer can file a writ of habeas corpus to challenge the legality of your incarceration or the conditions of your confinement by asserting that your constitutional rights were violated.
Writs are complex legal arguments, so it is important that you speak to an attorney to make sure you have exhausted any available administrative remedies before seeking a writ of habeas corpus.
Let the Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Help You Today
Having an attorney who is experienced with sentence modifications will give you a better chance at a successful outcome to your petition. Your lawyer will be able to examine the record of your case and determine where the flaws in the sentencing process occurred. Your attorney can then make a convincing argument to the court why you deserve a reduced sentence or to be released from custody.
At Wallin & Klarich, we have more than 35 years of experience successfully helping our clients in post-conviction matters. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Victorville, West Covina, San Diego and Torrance, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich attorney available near you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.