Limited Immigration Services

The Fresno County Public Defender’s Office is committed to working with both the immigrant community and with immigrant advocates to reduce the impact of criminal convictions on Fresno County’s immigrant population.  The Post Conviction Unit can assist legal service providers and noncitizens in assessing the potential and actual adverse immigration consequences of prior Fresno County criminal convictions and evaluate whether post-conviction relief will help individuals to qualify for immigration benefits/relief such as Adjustment of Status, Non-LPR Cancellation of Removal, and Naturalization.  Please apply to our Clean Slate Program to see how the Post Conviction Unit can assist you.

Generally, post-conviction motions for immigrants will be filed either under Penal Code 1473.7 or Penal Code 1016.5:

Motions to Vacate a Conviction and/or Sentence:

  • California Penal Code section 1473.7 allows a noncitizen who was unable to meaningfully understand or knowingly accept the immigration consequences of a plea to obtain a vacatur of the conviction under certain circumstances. If a noncitizen was not advised of the immigration consequences at the time of a conviction, the individual may be eligible to vacate the prior conviction for legal error.
  • California Penal Code section 1016.5(a), a judge must give the following advisement to all defendants, whether or not the defendant is a noncitizen, prior to taking a plea to any crime other than an infraction: “If you are not a citizen, you are hereby advised that conviction of the offense for which you have been charged may have the consequences of deportation, exclusion from admission to the United States, or denial of naturalization pursuant to the laws of the United States.” Section 1016.5(b) provides that the court “shall” vacate the judgment if after January 1, 1978 the court failed to give this advisement to a defendant, and the person shows that the conviction may cause their deportation, exclusion, or denial of naturalization.

This should not be construed as legal advice and anyone with immigration concerns is encouraged to apply to the program or consult with a licensed Immigration Attorney before filing any petitions or traveling out of state or country. For local non-profit organizations that can assist in many immigration-related matters free of charge, please see the Immigration Services Directory from CVIIC,