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Tampa Criminal Lawyer > Blog > Criminal > How To Get Post-Conviction Relief In Florida

How To Get Post-Conviction Relief In Florida


You don’t have to be a criminal justice reform activist to know that some of the people who receive criminal penalties have been wrongfully convicted.  Almost anyone who has served time in prison has met numerous inmates who complain that some aspect of their trial or sentence was unfair, even though, as the stereotype goes, the truly innocent ones spend their time in the prison’s law library.  If the court has wrongfully handed down a conviction, then you have legal remedies available to you other than grumbling to your fellow inmates or to your probation officer about the injustice of your case.  Remember that “no double jeopardy” only applies to getting acquitted.  If you have been convicted, your case is never truly closed.  You might be eligible for post-conviction relief, and the first step toward getting it is to contact a Tampa criminal defense lawyer.

What Does Post-Conviction Relief Do?

Post-conviction relief is when defendants who have been convicted in criminal court, either through a plea deal or a guilty verdict at trial, ask the court that handed down the conviction to amend its decision.  As a convicted defendant, you have the right to file a motion for post-conviction relief in the same court where you originally entered your plea.  If the court accepts your motion and grants your request, the result might be that you get a new trial, or it might be that the court dismisses the charges against you by vacating or setting aside the judgment it initially issued.

How Do You Persuade the Court to Grant You Post-Conviction Relief?

To get post-conviction relief, you must do more than tell the court that you are unhappy about being convicted or that you regret pleading guilty.  Instead, you must give the court a compelling reason to revisit its judgment.  These are some situations that would make you eligible for post-conviction relief:

  • Your criminal defense lawyer made a mistake that caused you to be convicted. Many defendants use this argument when a court-appointed public defender advised them to plead guilty, instead of reviewing all of the available evidence, which would have amounted to a strong defense at trial.
  • After your trial or guilty plea, previously undiscovered evidence emerged, and this evidence could affect the outcome of your case.
  • The law has changed since your conviction, such that your actions no longer amount to a crime.
  • You did not receive a fair trial, due to unnecessary delays, juror bias, or an incorrect decision by the judge about the admissibility of a certain piece of evidence.

If the court does not accept your motion for post-conviction relief, the next step is to appeal your conviction or your sentence.  When you do this, a higher court will review the trial court’s decision and determine whether it agrees with it.

Contact Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Bryant Scriven

A criminal defense lawyer can help you apply for post-conviction relief.  Contact Scriven Law in Tampa, Florida to schedule a consultation.



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