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A conviction for a crime is not necessarily the end of the story. If you believe you received a wrongful conviction or unfair sentence, you could ask the trial court to change the verdict or sentence. You could even seek post-conviction relief if you pled guilty or nolo contendre to a criminal charge.
The process is complex and often involves subtle legal issues. Working with a skilled defense attorney is critical to the success of a request for post-conviction relief. If you want to challenge your conviction, sentence, or plea bargain, contact a New River post-conviction relief lawyer at Grand Canyon Law Group as soon as possible. Strict time frames apply in some cases, so failing to act quickly could endanger your rights.
Most people have heard of appeals when a litigant asks a higher court to review a lower court decision. An appeals court could affirm or set aside the lower court’s decision or send the case back for a new trial or sentencing. The request for post-conviction relief (PCR) goes to the trial court rather than a higher court.
Almost any error or anomaly in the trial stage could form the basis for an appeal. In contrast, Arizona Judicial Rule 33 provides limited grounds for PCR:
A person must file a Notice Requesting Post-Conviction Relief within 90 days of sentencing or the rejection of an appeal. If the ground for the PCR is a change in the law or discovery of new evidence, the petitioner may file at any time. Our seasoned New River attorneys can evaluate whether someone has grounds for post-conviction relief.
Another significant difference between an appeal and PCR is that someone who pled guilty or nolo contendre must waive their right to appeal. However, defendants retain their right to PCR on any grounds that might apply after a conviction.
A lawyer must file a Petition for Post-Conviction Relief within 60 days of filing the Notice. The petition must state the basis for the request, recount the relevant facts, and include legal precedents and arguments supporting the petitioner’s request.
The court can dismiss the petition, which terminates the action, or it could schedule an evidentiary hearing. If the court schedules a hearing, a New River post-conviction relief attorney must prove the grounds they raised in the petition by a preponderance of the evidence.
Many defendants who worked with public defenders at trial use this ground to vacate a conviction. Indications of an ineffective defense include failing to interview key witnesses, failing to secure expert testimony, non-appearance at trial, and failing to make meaningful attempts to challenge the prosecution’s evidence and witnesses.
Newly discovered evidence that could clear a defendant is grounds for PCR. Cases where new, more sensitive evidence analysis techniques could rule out an offender as the perpetrator may be eligible for PCR on this ground. In addition, testimony from a previously unknown witness or a witness recanting testimony could trigger PCR.
A change in the law applying to the case could merit PCR in some cases. If the result for the defendant could be different under current law than when the defendant was convicted, the court might grant PCR.
A defendant might challenge a sentence if the judge did not give proper credit for time served, failed to consider mitigating circumstances, or misapplied the sentencing guidelines.
A meeting with our skilled local attorneys could help defendants understand their options for seeking post-conviction relief.
If you believe your criminal conviction was incorrect or your sentence unfair, explore whether post-conviction relief might be an option in your circumstances. If successful, you could receive a new trial or sentence.
A New River post-conviction relief lawyer at our firm is here to help you protect your rights and future. Contact Grand Canyon Law Group today to discuss your situation. We believe you have a way of life worth saving.