Phoenix Post-conviction Relief Lawyer

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In Phoenix, if an individual has been convicted of a crime, there are two avenues of appealing either their conviction or sentence. A person could pursue a direct appeal filed with the Arizona Court of Appeals or request post-conviction relief, which is only available in certain circumstances.

If you wish to seek relief of your conviction or sentence, an experienced attorney at Grand Canyon Law Group can help you determine if your case qualifies for post-conviction relief. Our Phoenix post-conviction relief lawyers can inform you of your legal options and assist you throughout the process.

WHAT IS POST-CONVICTION RELIEF?

As explained by the Arizona Judicial Branch, a defendant who requests post-conviction relief is asking for the court to vacate or modify a judgment of conviction, or to modify or reduce their sentence. If an individual has been convicted by way of a plea agreement, requesting relief is the only way to appeal the conviction.

Post-conviction relief can be sought under Rule 32 or Rule 33 of the Arizona Revised Statutes Rules of Criminal Procedure. A request for post-conviction relief can be made under Rule 32 if the individual has been found guilty of a crime at a trial or sentenced after violating probation. Under Rule 33, a request can be made if the individual was found guilty due to a plea agreement, after admitting to a probation violation or incurring an automatic probation violation.

There are options for dealing with mistakes made at sentencing by Phoenix judges. In addition to a direct appeal, there is also the possibility for post-conviction relief. This option involves asking a court to step in and potentially alter the sentence in a way that addresses the error.

Depending on the circumstances, a person convicted of a crime could file a motion with the court to vacate the judgment against them. When it comes to questions of inappropriate sentences, it is common for a person to file a petition, not to overturn their conviction, but to commute a portion of their sentence.

The first step of this process involves a form known as Notice Requesting Post-Conviction Relief. This document has to be filed in the court where the conviction was entered and includes details on the procedural history of the case, as well as all issues requiring relief from a sentence.

REASONS FOR SEEKING RELIEF AFTER A CONVICTION

There are generally only four reasons why a defendant is permitted to seek relief following a verdict or sentence:

  • Ineffective assistance of counsel during trial, sentencing, plea negotiations, direct appeal, or a previous post-conviction relief hearing
  • A sentence that was not authorized by law or provided in the plea agreement
  • A substantive change in the law that would apply to the case and potentially overturn the conviction or sentence
  • Discovery of new evidence that would have changed the outcome of their trial or sentencing

An experienced post-conviction relief attorney in Phoenix can help a person determine whether they have a case for relief under Rule 32 or Rule 33.

THE PROCESS OF REQUESTING POST-CONVICTION RELIEF IN PHOENIX

In the process of requesting post-conviction relief under Rules 32 or 33, the defendant files a Notice Requesting Post-Conviction Relief in the trial court that imposed the judgment or sentence. Generally, the Notice must be filed within 90 days after sentencing or within 30 days after a direct appeal mandate.

Once the Notice has been filed, the defendant must also file a Petition for Post-Conviction Relief. This petition must include facts that support the request, such as court records, transcripts of testimony, or other documents. The Petition generally must be filed no more than 60 days after the Notice.

It should be noted that Arizona courts may or may not be forgiving if defendants miss the deadline for filing their Notice, as many defendants do not know they have the right to request post-conviction relief. A dedicated local attorney can inform defendants of their rights in seeking post-conviction relief and help file the necessary petitions.

RISKS OF PETITIONING FOR POST-CONVICTION RELIEF

The main risk of requesting post-conviction relief is that if the defendant is successful in getting a new trial, they can potentially be re-convicted and receive an even higher sentence than they did before. As such, it is essential to discuss one’s situation with an experienced Phoenix post-conviction relief lawyer. An attorney at our law firm can help someone navigate the process and understand the potential outcomes. Our legal team can also ensure that the court sees the evidence and receives the information they need to reconsider conviction or sentencing.

INCORRECT CRIMINAL SENTENCING IN PHOENIX

The consequences of any criminal conviction can impose a heavy burden on you, especially in situations where the court orders incarceration, whether it is for a DUIdomestic violence incidentassault, or some other crime. It is worth noting that in some of these cases, the severity of the sentence is due in part to mistakes made by the judge.

The court is not infallible, as mistakes happen constantly in the judicial system. These errors occasionally lead to incorrect criminal sentencing in Phoenix. The good news is that a dedicated post-conviction relief attorney from Grand Canyon Law Group can assist you with something known as post-conviction relief in these situations. However, it is important to act fast before you lose your opportunity.

HOW INCORRECT CRIMINAL SENTENCES HAPPEN

While there are strict rules and regulations for how sentences are handed down in Arizona, the reality is that judges are human. It goes without saying that humans can make mistakes, even when it comes to critical issues like incarceration. Some incorrect sentences result from these errors in Phoenix court cases.

SENTENCES THAT VIOLATE THE STATUTORY LIMITS

It might seem hard to believe, but judges occasionally issue sentences in criminal cases that go beyond the maximum penalties set by statute. While rare, this outcome has happened before and can put undue stress on the defendant. The law sets strict maximum sentences, so post-conviction relief is available under this scenario.

FAILURE TO RECEIVE CREDIT FOR TIME SERVED

Another issue that qualifies as improper sentencing in Phoenix courtrooms is the misapplication of time served. Many people convicted of a crime are unable to obtain bail, remaining in custody from the day they are arrested until the point they are convicted at trial. Given that the process can take months or even years before a trial occurs, it is not unusual for someone to serve a significant portion of their sentence waiting for a verdict in their case.

When this happens, the courts are required to give a defendant credit for every day of time they served following their arrest. For example, if a person remained in custody for two years until they were ultimately convicted, the amount of time they spend behind bars should be reduced by that two-year period. Unfortunately, courts can fail to apply time served correctly – you should call the Grand Canyon Law Group to appeal this error immediately.

NEW EVIDENCE CAN OPEN THE DOOR TO POST-CONVICTION RELIEF

When a person is convicted of a crime, that decision is generally considered final. It goes on the defendant’s criminal record, and the court is then tasked with determining an appropriate sentence. That said, there are ways to have a conviction overturned under the right circumstances. Providing new evidence that would have likely swayed the outcome of a trial in Phoenix, had it been discovered in time, might qualify.

But be warned: there are some limits on the type of evidence that can be used for these purposes. It must have existed at the time of trial, meaning any object or record created following the trial would not be eligible. What’s more, the evidence must have been discovered after the conclusion of the proceedings.

Not everything offered by the defense will be enough to overturn a conviction. The evidence offered must have been likely to have resulted in a different outcome if it was offered at trial.

For most people, being found guilty of a crime signals the end of their opportunity to fight their charges and protect their freedom. Judgments are generally treated as final, and appeals are frequently denied. That said, there is an opportunity to have a second chance at justice when additional information about your case comes to light following a trial.

If new evidence after a conviction in Phoenix has been discovered, you might have grounds for legal relief. A compassionate post-conviction relief attorney can help you evaluate your options and determine if overturning the court order might be possible for you.

FILING AN APPEAL FOR NEW EVIDENCE

The most straightforward way to address new evidence is on appeal. A conviction at trial leaves the defendant with the opportunity for an appeal so long as it is filed in a timely manner. While this process can lead to a new trial, a problem arises when new evidence is not discovered until after the appeals process has concluded.

There is a window of only 14 days for the accused to notify the court they intend to appeal – which is why we recommend CALLING NOW to learn your options. The documentation provided by the defendant must also outline the issues they intend to raise, leaving a very narrow window of time to discover additional proof of a person’s innocence. Thankfully, there are other options that may be available when additional evidence is found after a guilty verdict in a Phoenix criminal case.

FILING A RULE 32 MOTION

Once the appellate approach has been exhausted, all that is left are post-conviction remedies. These tools are never guaranteed to be successful, and there are additional time limitations that must be taken into consideration. That said, it may be possible to have a conviction in Phoenix overturned using this method when new evidence is discovered.

These legal proceedings—known as Rule 32 motions—must be filed in the court where the initial conviction was entered. The notice must be provided to the state along with a petition that describes the grounds for relief. Having the support of an attorney throughout this process is vital, which is why you should call now.

Securing a new trial or even having your conviction overturned entirely might seem far-fetched, but the truth is these outcomes are possible. If you have discovered new information that might have led to a better result in court, it is time to speak with Grand Canyon Law Group immediately.

CONSULT A PHOENIX ATTORNEY ON POST-CONVICTION RELIEF OPTIONS

The experienced Phoenix post-conviction relief lawyers at Grand Canyon Law Group have built a reputation of delivering personalized attention and aggressive advocacy for their clients. Our team can help you explore your legal options for seeking relief from your conviction or sentence. Give us a call today to discuss your options and get the representation you deserve.

Schedule A Consultation With The Grand Canyon Attorney Who Can Help