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Avondale Post-Conviction Relief Lawyer

Most people know that they can appeal a conviction to a higher court. Many are unaware that they can also go back to a trial court and ask the judge to change a plea, verdict, or sentence. This is known as a request for “post-conviction relief.”

Contact the criminal defense attorneys at the Grand Canyon Law Group immediately if you were found guilty after a trial or if you plead guilty or no contest (nolo contendre). We will review your case to determine whether you have a basis to ask the court to reconsider. If so, an Avondale post-conviction relief lawyer can advocate for you through every step.

What Is Post-Conviction Relief?

A request for post-conviction relief (PCR) asks the judge to reconsider the result of a criminal prosecution. If the judge grants PCR, they could order a new trial or impose a different sentence.

The person seeking PCR must show that there are grounds for reconsideration. There are four grounds, or reasons, why a court might grant post-conviction relief, including:

  • The defendant’s attorney did not provide adequate legal assistance
  • The sentence the judge imposed or the defendant agreed to was not authorized under the law
  • New information exists that would likely change the result of the trial or the defendant’s willingness to enter a plea agreement
  • The law has changed, and the defendant could not be convicted or sentenced under the new law

When someone raises a change in the law as the basis for PCR, it must be applicable retroactively. A lawyer at the Grand Canyon Law Group in Avondale can determine whether a change in law is a viable basis for PCR in a specific case.

The Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure govern PCR. Rule 32 applies when the person seeking PCR was found guilty after a trial or a probation violation hearing. Rule 33 applies if the individual signed a plea agreement or pled no contest to a criminal charge.

Procedure for Post-Conviction Relief

Someone seeking PCR must file a Notice Requesting Post-Conviction Relief with the trial court that handled the criminal matter. The notice requires information about the court proceeding and whether the sentence was imposed after a trial or a plea agreement.

An Avondale attorney must file a Petition for Post-Conviction Relief. The petition has to provide legal arguments and specific examples demonstrating that the petitioner has valid grounds for PCR and that not considering it would be an injustice. The court will examine the petition and could deny PCR if the judge does not find it persuasive.

If the judge believes the petition proves the sentence was possibly unfair due to one of four grounds for PCR, the court schedules an evidentiary hearing. The petitioner can present evidence showing why PCR is appropriate in their case, and the court could either grant relief or deny it.

Act Quickly Because Time is of the Essence

In most cases, someone seeking PCR has 90 days to file a notice with the trial court. The countdown begins when the trial court sentences a defendant who entered a plea agreement or when an appeals court makes the final ruling after a trial conviction.

When PCR is requested because of new information or a change in the law, the 90-day deadline does not apply and the petitioner must instead act within a reasonable time. The best strategy is to consult an Avondale attorney immediately after learning there might be grounds for PCR.

Exceptions to the Deadline

Courts will consider a request for PCR even when the filing deadline has passed if the person seeking it can show that the delay was not their fault and out of their control. In addition, courts will sometimes grant an extension.

Contact an Avondale Attorney About Post-Conviction Relief Now

If you accepted a plea agreement or pled guilty at trial, this does not mean your case is closed. You can still ask a judge to grant you PCR.

Talk to one of our Avondale post-conviction relief lawyers at the Grand Canyon Law Group. We will review your case for grounds for PCR and fight for what you deserve. Call us now to get started.

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