Criminal Defense of Immigrants
§ 11.65 d. The Client Has 6 Months or More Before Irrevocable Immigration Damage Occurs
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It can take from one to two months to gather and review the documents from the court file, the reporter’s transcripts, and original defense counsel’s file in order for criminal counsel to perform an in-depth study of the validity of a conviction. It is difficult to expedite this much if reporter’s transcripts must be ordered and prepared.
If grounds and a procedure for attacking the conviction are found, generally speaking, it requires about six months after an application for post-conviction relief has been filed to obtain an order vacating the conviction. This estimate, of course, varies considerably depending on the nature of the case, the procedures in the jurisdiction, the extent of litigation involved, and the like.
If the client does not have six to eight months within which criminal counsel can attack the conviction, it may not be worth embarking on the effort. There may be alternative means available, such as a nonstatutory motion to vacate a conviction, that can offer the possibility of a ruling in half the time, or even less, but generally speaking, the availability of six to eight months is an important factor, strengthening the probability of success in obtaining post-conviction relief.