CA Penal Code Section 1016.2

The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:


In Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356 (2010), the United States Supreme Court held that the Sixth Amendment requires defense counsel to provide affirmative and competent advice to noncitizen defendants regarding the potential immigration consequences of their criminal cases. California courts also have held that defense counsel must investigate and advise regarding the immigration consequences of the available dispositions, and should, when consistent with the goals of and informed consent of the defendant, and as consistent with professional standards, defend against adverse immigration consequences (People v. Soriano, 194 Cal.App.3d 1470 (1987), People v. Barocio, 216 Cal.App.3d 99 (1989), People v. Bautista, 115 Cal.App.4th 229 (2004)).


In Padilla v. Kentucky, the United States Supreme Court sanctioned the consideration of immigration consequences by both parties in the plea negotiating process. The court stated that “informed consideration of possible deportation can only benefit both the State and noncitizen defendants during the plea-bargaining process. By bringing deportation consequences into this process, the defense and prosecution may well be able to reach agreements that better satisfy the interests of both parties.”


In Padilla v. Kentucky, the United States Supreme Court found that for noncitizens, deportation is an integral part of the penalty imposed for criminal convictions. Deportation may result from serious offenses or a single minor offense. It may be by far the most serious penalty flowing from the conviction.


With an accurate understanding of immigration consequences, many noncitizen defendants are able to plead to a conviction and sentence that satisfy the prosecution and court, but that have no, or fewer, adverse immigration consequences than the original charge.


Defendants who are misadvised or not advised at all of the immigration consequences of criminal charges often suffer irreparable damage to their current or potential lawful immigration status, resulting in penalties such as mandatory detention, deportation, and permanent separation from close family. In some cases, these consequences could have been avoided had counsel provided informed advice and attempted to defend against such consequences.


Once in removal proceedings, a noncitizen may be transferred to any of over 200 immigration detention facilities across the country. Many criminal offenses trigger mandatory detention, so that the person may not request bond. In immigration proceedings, there is no court-appointed right to counsel and as a result, the majority of detained immigrants go unrepresented. Immigration judges often lack the power to consider whether the person should remain in the United States in light of equitable factors such as serious hardship to United States citizen family members, length of time living in the United States, or rehabilitation.


The immigration consequences of criminal convictions have a particularly strong impact in California. One out of every four persons living in the state is foreign-born. One out of every two children lives in a household headed by at least one foreign-born person. The majority of these children are United States citizens. It is estimated that 50,000 parents of California United States citizen children were deported in a little over two years. Once a person is deported, especially after a criminal conviction, it is extremely unlikely that he or she ever is permitted to return.


It is the intent of the Legislature to codify Padilla v. Kentucky and related California case law and to encourage the growth of such case law in furtherance of justice and the findings and declarations of this section.
Last Updated

Aug. 19, 2023

§ 1016.2’s source at ca​.gov