Did you or someone you know go to trial for a criminal offense? Were they found guilty? If so, you might consider post-conviction relief, particularly if you believe the convicted person had inadequate legal representation; bad advice from counsel; had their constitutional rights violated in the process of the conviction; the sentence they received was flawed or in excess of the maximum sentence allowed by law; the sentence has expired and they are being unlawfully held in excess of the sentence they were ordered to serve; or if there is new evidence in the case that rightfully should bring the conviction into question.
But why? When you’re shopping for a new house, applying for bank loans, enrolling in school, or seeking a new job, it can be troublesome to serve a criminal conviction or have it still coming up on your record. Criminal convictions can affect relationships, voting rights, gun ownership rights, and more.
When a person has a criminal conviction on their record, it has immediate and lifelong consequences. Convictions don’t just disappear, and they generally take several years after serving the sentence to be legally able to pursue getting their criminal record expunged. Having a criminal case result in a conviction is oftentimes scary for the convicted person and their family, because of the uncertainty over their long-term future that comes with it. You might be wondering: what can I do about this, if anything? Speak to a criminal defense attorney to see if you qualify for post-conviction hearing.
When court cases don’t go their way, a criminal defendant may feel that they weren’t represented adequately or that the outcome was unfair. It is possible the convicted person was indeed guilty, but that doesn’t mean they deserve to have the rest of their life permanently negatively affected by it.
Post-conviction relief is not the only option available to criminal defendants after a conviction or a sentence, and it is not available to everyone. A defendant may apply for a sentence modification or start with a direct appeal, instead. A sentence modification, post-conviction relief, and a direct appeal are all legal remedies that are available to a person convicted of a crime while they are still actively serving the sentence for the crime they were convicted of, but each form of relief is different in what it could do for their case if successful. Most defendants spring right for the direct appeal, without considering the full range of options available to them. A criminal defense attorney can help you explore these options to find the path that is best for you.
What does a Typical Post-Conviction Relief Process Look like?
Is pursuing post-conviction relief worth it to seek to have an active sentence adjusted? In general, a post-conviction relief petition challenges what happened at the criminal trial like making the claim that something occurred at the trial that was illegal or in violation of the criminal defendant’s constitutional rights, that the criminal defendant’s attorney did not provide proper or adequate assistance of counsel, or that there is new evidence that came to light since the conviction was first entered.
A direct appeal has a statute of limitations–a time limit–that you must file within. For Appeals made in Indiana, a person seeking an appeal has thirty (30) days after receiving a final judgment in their case, which in the criminal context is generally the time the criminally charged defendant was sentenced. However, post-conviction relief may still be available to you even if the thirty day requirement for making a direct appeal has already expired.
Your post-conviction relief lawyer’s first line of defense may be a claim that you did not receive effective assistance of counsel in your trial, even where you pled guilty. If this claim does not work for your specific case, there are a number of other claims for post-conviction relief your lawyer can explore. Indiana Rule of Procedure for Post-Conviction Relief Rule 1, Section 1, states the grounds for post-conviction relief are: (1) That the conviction or the sentence in your case was in violation of the Federal or Indiana State Constitution, (2) That the sentencing court was without jurisdiction to impose a sentence in your case, (3) That the sentence exceeds the maximum sentence allowed by law or is otherwise flawed, (4) That there exists evidence of material facts not previously heard by the sentencing Court that requires vacation of the conviction or sentence in the interest of justice, (5) That the convicted person’s sentence has expired, or their parole, probation, or conditional release was unlawfully revoked, or they are otherwise being unlawfully held in custody or under other restraint, and (6) that the sentence or conviction imposed is otherwise subject to collateral attack on any other legal ground.
One important aspect is that your request must be filed with the court as soon as possible. Otherwise, even if you have grounds for your request, the court may dismiss your petition.
Contact a Trusted Post-Conviction Relief Attorney Today
It’s crucial that you immediately contact a post-conviction relief lawyer if you want your criminal record adjusted.
Your post-conviction relief attorney may focus on serious errors, address issues not raised at trial, bring forward newly discovered evidence, and more. If you had ineffective counsel, jury or judge bias, if you’re unlawfully being restrained or held, the maximum authorized sentence was exceeded, your rights were violated – or one of several other circumstances come into play – your post-conviction relief attorney can help you get your life back.
Contact The Law Office of Jesse K. Sanchez to Discuss Post-Conviction Relief
At any time, any person may, under Indiana’s post-conviction relief statute, commence an action for post-conviction relief. This does, of course, apply to persons who are/were sentenced for a crime in the state of Indiana or if they have been convicted of a crime in Indiana. If you need help, contact us right away. Click here to send a message via email.