Legal Question in Criminal Law in California

My boyfriend is in San Bernardino California jail he has been charged with a Burglary in a violent crime one was 10 years ago and one was 20 years ago they are offering him 36-month have time is that a good deal? also there was no evidence on the burglary charge. can use that your limitations be you since both cases are so old and he has not been in trouble? is there anything else you can do or any way around it to get it expunged or anything?

Asked on 9/26/13, 4:03 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman
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Do you mean that he has only recently been arrested on these old charges, or that he was convicted of them long ago and has now been arrested for something else? Your earlier question (www.lawguru.com/legal-questions/california-criminal-law/boyfriend-convicted-felon-volient-offince-124590172) suggested that he has two old convictions and a new charge, but this one makes it sound like he's only now been arrested on old warrants.

We can't begin to tell you whether the offer is a good one with so little information. We don't know what the current charge is. We don't know how strong the evidence is (your statement that there is no evidence cannot possibly be correct, since the authorities never file charges based only on a hunch). We don't know what defenses he might be able to raise. We don't know where the case is being tried, which means we don't know how hostile or sympathetic his jury might be. And we don't even have clear information about what's in his record.

His prior convictions probably won't be admissible to prove his guilt of the new charge, though they might be. It's more likely that they will be used against him at his sentencing, if he is convicted. Either way, the amount of time that has passed since he was last in trouble may help him either keep the convictions out of evidence or reduce their impact -- unless the reason he hasn't been in trouble for ten years is that he spent much of that time behind bars.

Statutes of limitation are only about when new charges can be filed. They do not protect the defendant from being arrested years later on charges that were filed on time, and they don't apply to the use of prior convictions in a new case. As I said in my prior answer, it is unlikely that a conviction for a violent felony can be expunged even in the best of circumstances (which would still require it to first be reduced to a misdemeanor). It is inonceivable that your boyfriend could get an expungement while he has new felony charges pending, since the decision would be partly based on how he has conducted himself since the prior conviction.

I'm sorry I can't be more encouraging. Your boyfriend needs to get a lawyer if he doesn't already have one. General answers to incomplete questions on this website are no substitute for the advice of his own lawyer.

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Answered on 9/26/13, 4:34 pm

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