Relief for Ineffective Counsel in Phoenix

Many people think that once they plead guilty or nolo contendere to a crime, they must accept their sentence and move on. Someone convicted after a trial might know they have a right to appeal, but appeals are time-consuming and can be expensive.

There is an alternative! Fewer people know about the process called post-conviction relief. It allows someone to petition the trial court to reconsider a criminal case or the sentence the court imposed under certain circumstances.

One of the reasons a court might grant a petition for post-conviction relief is if the defendant proves they did not receive good legal representation. When you believe your lawyer did not do all they should have for you, contact our talented criminal attorneys at Grand Canyon Law Group TODAY. We can review your case and determine whether you have grounds for relief for ineffective counsel in Phoenix.

The Post-Conviction Relief (PCR) Process

Arizona Judicial Rule 32 offers the opportunity for post-conviction relief (PCR) to people who were convicted after a trial, and Rule 33 governs requests for PCR from people who pled guilty or nolo contendere and received a criminal sentence. The person seeking PCR is the petitioner. Our Phoenix attorneys can file a petition asking for a reconsideration of a verdict or a sentence reduction.

A court can refuse the request for relief and dismiss it. In that case, the conviction and sentence will stand. Sometimes the judge schedules an evidentiary hearing to explore the reasons the defendant asserted for seeking post-conviction relief.

There are several grounds for seeking post-conviction relief, including a change in the law, new evidence, and ineffective assistance of counsel. If the defendant proves their case by a preponderance of the evidence, the court can change the verdict or adjust the sentence. This is something you may be able to take advantage of, so call us quickly.

Determining Whether Legal Representation Was Effective

Someone seeking post-conviction relief on the grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel must show that their lawyer failed to do a reasonable job in defending them. Someone seeking PCR must meet a two-pronged test to show their attorney was ineffective.

Counsel’s Performance Fell Below Reasonable Standards

A defendant seeking post-conviction relief must present specific examples of poor performance by their lawyer. Their attorney’s work must have been clearly poor compared with other lawyers providing criminal defense in the area. A lawyer was not necessarily ineffective just because another lawyer might have done things differently.

A court might find that a defendant had ineffective counsel if their lawyer missed court dates or was unprepared for trial. A lawyer who did not follow up on a possible alibi or other defense, did not interview witnesses, did not challenge the prosecutor’s evidence, or did not cross-examine witnesses effectively or at all, might have been ineffective. A court might find a lawyer was ineffective if they clearly misunderstood the law as it applied to the defendant’s case.

Lawyer’s Failings Changed the Outcome

Someone trying to prove ineffective assistance of counsel also must show that the defendant would have received a better result if their lawyer had done a better job. If the mistakes or omissions the defendant proved were unlikely to have resulted in a different outcome, a court will not provide post-conviction relief. Call Grand Canyon Law Group to learn if this situation applies to you!

Types of Post-Conviction Relief Available

A court that finds a defendant’s counsel was ineffective could take several different steps, depending on the circumstances. One of our Phoenix attorneys could discuss the type of relief a person should ask for in a PCR petition.

A court could vacate a conviction. If the court takes this step, the prosecutor has the option to refile the charges and prosecute the case again. The court could also vacate the conviction and order a new trial.

Many requests for post-conviction relief concern plea agreements. If a court finds that a lawyer did an unreasonably poor job when negotiating a plea bargain or explaining it to the defendant, the judge might set aside the plea agreement. A court also could modify or reduce a sentence or set it aside entirely.

Consult a Phoenix Attorney When Seeking PCR for Ineffective Counsel

When your lawyer does a poor job, you should not have to pay for their incompetence. When you can prove your lawyer’s mistakes had an impact on the outcome of your case, you could ask the trial judge to set aside your conviction, schedule a new trial, or change your sentence. You have options!

Contact one of the Grand Canyon Law Group’s experienced attorneys about seeking post-conviction relief for ineffective counsel in Phoenix. We are here to help you address the mistakes of your prior attorney.

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