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Name: People v. Tidwell
Case #: H042335
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/05/2016

Defendant was eligible to petition for Proposition 47 relief even though his felony conviction had already been dismissed pursuant to Penal Code section 1203.4. In 2009 Tidwell entered guilty pleas in two separate cases to possession of a controlled substance (Health & Saf. Code, § 11350, subd. (a); one count in each case) and driving under the influence of alcohol (Veh. Code, § 23152, subd. (a)). The court suspended imposition of sentence and placed Tidwell on probation. In July 2011, Tidwell had successfully completed his probation. He moved to withdraw his guilty plea and dismiss his cases (Pen. Code, § 1203.4). His motion was granted. After the passage of Proposition 47, Tidwell petitioned to have the dismissed felony drug charges reduced to misdemeanors (Pen. Code, § 1170.18, subd. (f)). The court found him ineligible for relief because his convictions had been dismissed. He appealed. Held: Reversed. Penal Code section 1203.4, subdivision (a) provides that a defendant who has met the requirements of his probation may withdraw his plea and enter a plea of not guilty. The court then sets aside the plea and dismisses the information. However, the statutory dismissal Tidwell obtained did not expunge his record or cancel all potential future consequences of his convictions. The relief offered by Proposition 47 applies to qualified defendants who have completed their sentence for a conviction, whether by trial or plea. There is nothing in the statutory implementation of Proposition 47 (Pen. Code, § 1170.18) that excludes felonies that have been dismissed under section 1203.4. Tidwell was entitled to Proposition 47 relief.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: