All too often, the result of a criminal case leaves a person facing far more severe consequences than they should. Perhaps the jury instructions pitted the jury against the defendant, or the court denied an appeal in violation of state law. When that happens, you do not have to sit back and accept your fate.

What a post-conviction relief petition does

A petition for post-conviction relief asks the court to either set aside a conviction or sentence because the conviction, or the denial of an appeal, violated the state or federal constitution.

The importance of timing

A person must file their petition within one year of the final order in their case. However, a request for post-conviction relief filed before the time for appeal lapses is considered “premature.” Generally, these petitions are submitted after the appeal is denied.

What circumstances qualify for post-conviction relief?

A request to have your conviction or sentence overturned must stem from an alleged violation of either state law or the U.S. Constitution, such as:

  • The conviction itself violated your Constitutional rights
  • The law you allegedly broke contradicts the Constitution
  • The court did not have jurisdiction over your case
  • The sentence exceeds what is allowed by law
  • New evidence exists that could exonerate you

Post-conviction relief is also sometimes available when a significant change in the law, if applied to your case, would change the outcome.

The criminal justice system doesn’t always operate the way it should. To protect your rights, talk to a criminal defense attorney who can help you understand all your options – and will fight for you until the end.