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Criminal Defense Attorneys

Van Nuys, Car Theft 487(a), Reduced to Misdemeanor, Expunged

More than four years ago, on March 10, 2018, our client, then age 21, entered a no contest plea in Van Nuys Superior Court to committing theft of property valued at more than $950 (“Grand Theft”) as defined at Penal Code § 487(a)) and committed perjury as defined by Penal Code § 118(a).  

In a nutshell, our client purchased a 2013 Audi A7 from a friend and received the pink slip, but before changing title to himself with the DMV, his friend passed away.  Our client then resold the car using the pink slip and, in effect, sold the car as if he were his deceased friend because title had never been changed.  This was characterized and prosecuted as grand theft.  

He later filed the pink slip as if he were his friend at the DMV, thereby committing perjury.

The events took place in Riverside County.  After he pled to the two charges and was placed on probation, supervision was transferred to Los Angeles County.

Our client then successfully completed probation.

However, he did not stay out of trouble, as he was arrested by federal agents in Lafayette County, Mississippi on allegations of participating in the interstate transportation and distribution of controlled substances.  He was remanded into federal jail and quickly entered into a plea there.

His sentencing in U.S. District Court in Mississippi under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines was set for a date approximately six months after his plea.  After his plea, his girlfriend called our office to ask about reducing the felony grand theft reduced to a misdemeanor, as well as the perjury charge.

She spoke with Greg Hill and explained the facts leading into the arrest for interstate transportation and distribution of a controlled substance and how her boyfriend’s attorney recommended she speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney here about his local convictions.  She wanted both convictions reduced to misdemeanors and to have the convictions expunged to improve her boyfriend’s criminal history score for federal sentencing.

Greg explained first and foremost that perjury under Penal Code § 118(a) is a straight felony that could not be reduced to a misdemeanor, but grand theft under Penal Code § 487(a) was a “wobbler,” however, the facts of the case would certainly matter.

Greg also explained that expungement of the two conviction would not be possible because her boyfriend was facing a pending charge and was in custody.  One requirement of relief under Penal Code § 1203.4 is that defendant not be facing any pending charges, on probation, on parole or in custody.

Greg further cautioned that in his experience, the federal court would not recognize a reduction of the felony to a misdemeanor (or expungement if this were possible), however, her boyfriend’s defense counsel can nonetheless bring it up.  The bigger benefit to such a reduction would be once he gets to federal prison, as his parole date would be adjusted closer and his security level would be reduced.

Greg said he could certainly file the motion to request that the court reclassify the grand theft conviction and the girlfriend hired Greg Hill & Associates to do so.

Greg prepared, filed and served the motion to reduce a conviction under Penal Code § 17(b)(3), with an extensive, thorough discussion of each factor in aggravation and mitigation under California Rules of Court, Rule 4.421, titled “Circumstances in Aggravation” and under Rule 4.423, titled “Circumstances in Mitigation” both as to the facts of the crime and defendant himself.

The judge hearing the motion in the Van Nuys Superior Court granted the reduction of the felony grand theft charge to a misdemeanor and did so for perjury, too, although that was not legally possible.  The judge also granted expungement of each conviction, which also was not legally allowed because our client was in custody and because he had a pending charge.

Greg said nothing as the judge announced his ruling.  The district attorney in court also sat mute.

The client’s criminal defense attorney in Mississippi was very happy with this, as was the client’s girlfriend.

For more information about Penal Code § 17(b)(3) and expungement, please click on the following articles:
Client Reviews
"Thank you so much for putting so much effort in this case. We really appreciate it and we are happy that all turned out well." S.A., Torrance
"Greg Hill did an outstanding job on every level. He was efficient, thorough, knowledgeable, courteous, responsive & brilliant. He welcomed my input and my concerns. . . from the first conversation to the last - I always felt 'it mattered' to him." S.C., Rolling Hills Estates
"Thanks again for your hard work. We want you to know that we are very appreciative of all that you have done [on our son's] behalf. With warmest regards." L.H., Torrance
"Dear Greg, Thank you again for all your help. Your professionalism and thoroughness is greatly admired. I will definitely recommend you to my friends if they ever need legal help." V.L., Carson
"Thanks for investing in my case. I talked to other attorneys out there and they had an arms-length of attitude, but not you. Your intensity and interest helped a lot." C.R., Pomona