People v. ChavezAnnotate this Case
In 2005, Chavez pleaded no contest to charges that he offered to sell a controlled substance and failed to appear after being released on his own recognizance. The trial court suspended imposition of sentence and placed Chavez on probation for four years, a term he successfully completed in 2009. In 2013, Chavez, claiming that he received ineffective assistance of counsel, asked the court to exercise its authority under Penal Code section 1385 to dismiss his previous convictions in the interests of justice. He did not seek relief under section 1203.4, which permits eligible defendants to obtain dismissal of accusations after completing probation. The trial court, court of appeal, and California Supreme Court denied him relief. A trial court would exceed the authority conferred by section 1385 if it dismissed an action after the probation period expires; a court may exercise that dismissal power before judgment is pronounced but not after judgment is final. In the case of a successful probationer, final judgment is never pronounced, and after the expiration of probation, may never be pronounced; section 1385’s power may be exercised until a judgment is pronounced or when the power to pronounce judgment runs out.