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September 6th, 2010 gravitz No comments

EXPUNGING COURT SUPERVISION

If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is!

In his most recent published article, “Court Supervision After Padilla v. Kentucky,”  Illinois Bar Journal(July 2010), Gary Ravitz of the law firm of Ravitz & Palles, P.C. (www. ravitzpalles.com), argues that lawyers who try to over-sell their clients on the benefits of pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge may be  performing a disservice.  Specifically, many well-meaning state court lawyers will tell their clients that the benefit of pleading guilty in exchange for court supervision is that the case won’t count as a “conviction” on the client’s record.

What they fail to mention, probably because they don’t know any better, is that, while this  may be true when dealing with the local courts,  not every court treats such supervision cases so kindly.  In fact,  outside of the client’s “home” jurisdiction, court supervision is likely to be viewed as a conviction.  Certainly, federal courts treat court supervision cases in this manner.   Some folks may be in for a rude awakening when a prior case, which they reasonably believed wouldn’t get count, gets used by a prosecutor, probation officer or judge to impose a greater sentence in the next case.

The only safe haven is to have the old case expunged, but expungement statutes can be technical and limited in scope.  It’s always best to consult with  an experienced criminal lawyer.

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