What Does a Post Conviction Attorney Do?

What Does a Post Conviction Attorney Do?


A post conviction attorney is an experienced criminal lawyer who specializes in the trial and appeals process after you have been convicted of a crime. They can help you challenge the court’s guilty verdict, ask the President to release you early, or reduce your sentence.

There are several types of post-conviction relief, including direct appeals, CPL 440 motions, Error Coram Nobis petitions and federal habeas corpus petitions. Each type of post-conviction relief has its own rules and deadlines, so it’s important to understand which one is appropriate for you.

Types of Cases

State and federal post conviction attorneys combine the skills of trial lawyers with the specialized knowledge and experience of appeals law. They review the record of a case, examine for errors in the defense and prosecutorial practices, and argue on the basis of those errors that the defendant was denied effective assistance of counsel at trial.

In many cases, a person’s constitutional rights were violated during the criminal trial process. This can be a serious problem, but there are still ways to challenge a conviction and seek relief.

The first type of case a post conviction attorney can handle is an appeal of a guilty verdict or erroneous plea. These issues require a lawyer to read the transcript of the trial and find any error in the evidence or testimony. Then the lawyer can file a notice of appeal with the court of appeals to challenge the judgment.

Filing a Notice of Appeal

Under New York criminal law, a defendant can appeal a judge’s order or judgment by filing a Notice of Appeal. It must be drafted by a lawyer.

The defendant must file it with the appropriate clerk within 30 days after the final trial order or judgment. Failure to do so may result in dismissal of the case.

A notice of appeal is a legal document filed by the appellant, the party appealing, stating the judgment or order that is being challenged and naming the court that is hearing the case.

It should be physically delivered to the appropriate clerk and then a stamped copy will be returned to the lawyer.

Often, when a defendant is convicted of a criminal offense the sentencing attorney will not take any further action in the case and he or she will simply let the defendant know that the case has ended and he or she is no longer responsible for any legal services provided to the defendant. However, it is important for the defendant to send a letter to his sentencing/trial attorney indicating that he wishes to file the notice of appeal and requesting that the lawyer do so.

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Filing a Motion for New Trial

A defendant may file a motion for new trial in a criminal case if they believe the jury or judge lacked proper or fair consideration of evidence. A post conviction attorney can assist with filing this type of motion, which must be filed within a certain amount of time after the conviction (usually 30 days).

Motions for a new trial are usually granted for reasons like newly discovered evidence that was not presented during the initial trial or errors made by the trial court. However, the defense must have exculpatory evidence that is sufficiently significant to change the outcome of the case.

Filing a Petition for Habeas Corpus

When you want to challenge the legal basis for your incarceration or confinement, you must first file a petition for Habeas Corpus. This is a legal document that asks a court to require a law enforcement agency (like a police department) or prison warden to bring you before a court for a review and/or hearing on whether you are being held in custody illegally.

Most commonly, a petition for Habeas Corpus addresses claims of ineffective assistance of counsel or prosecutorial misconduct. However, it can also address claims of newly discovered evidence, jury misconduct, or actual innocence.

Before you file a petition for Habeas corpus, it is important to understand that federal courts are reluctant to grant relief from state convictions. Moreover, the federal habeas statute was modified in 1996 to create a strict filing deadline and significant procedural barriers that did not exist prior to 1996.