Appeals / Petitions for Post-Conviction Relief
If you have already been convicted of a crime, you may have the right to challenge your conviction and/or sentence based on any legal errors that may have occurred. This challenge can come in the form of an appeal to a higher court or a petition for post-conviction relief. In an appeal, the decision of a lower court is reviewed by a higher court. A petition for post-conviction relief, on the other hand, is reviewed by the same judge that presided over your conviction. Both are essentially ways of fixing mistakes that were made.
We have extensive experience handling appeals and other post-conviction matters. If you feel that particular errors were made, we can explore those potential errors. If you’re not sure if an error was made, you may simply want an attorney to review the case for appeal and identify any potential issues for argument.
We have handled many appeals, ranging from the appeal of misdemeanor convictions in Tucson City Court or Pima County Justice Court to the appeal of federal felony convictions to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Strict time limits apply to appeals and petitions for post-conviction relief, so it is important that you contact a Tucson appeals lawyer as soon as possible.
Record Clearing & Other Relief
A criminal record can have a negative impact on your life in several ways. A criminal conviction can make it to rent an apartment. A conviction can also make it difficult to find a job or keep the job you already have, particularly when your work requires a professional license or some level of security clearance. Finally, a conviction can result in the loss of your civil rights. Even after a conviction is final, however, there are things that can be done to minimize its impact on your life:
Early Termination of Probation
If your sentence included a term of probation, you can petition the court for early termination of probation. In misdemeanor cases, this can often be done as soon as you complete all other aspects of your sentence. In felony cases, courts are usually receptive to such a petition when you have successfully completed half of your probationary term. Of course, there are some cases where this cannot be done because of the type of conviction or the terms of a plea agreement.
Expungement / Set Aside
While you cannot actually “expunge” your record in Arizona, at least in the sense that it is completely erased, you can “set aside” a conviction. Records of what happened, in the form of paper and digital documents, will always exist. By setting aside a conviction, however, a new “record” or document is created that essentially states that the original records has little or no legal effect. This is typically done after your sentence, including any term of probation, has been completed. A motion to set aside a conviction may or may not be granted at the court’s discretion. If a felony conviction is set aside, it can still legally be used as a “prior conviction” to enhance a sentence for future felony offenses.
There are certain types of convictions that cannot be set aside: offenses involving the infliction of serious physical injury or involved the use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, sex offenses, and offenses involving minor victims under 15 years old.
Restoration of Civil Rights
If you have been convicted of a felony, you have lost your civil rights. This includes the right to vote and the right to possess a firearm. A misdemeanor domestic violence conviction also results in the loss of your right to possess a firearm. These rights can usually be restored by filing a petition for the restoration of civil rights and/or a petition to restore the right to possess a firearm.
The right to possess a firearm cannot be restored where the conviction was for a dangerous offense. If a person was convicted of a “serious offense”, the right to possess a firearm cannot be restored until 10 years after they have completed their sentence.
For a free, confidential evaluation of your post-conviction options, call us at 520.314.4125 or contact us online. If you have been convicted of a crime, we can assess the circumstances and determine whether anything can or should be done.
Criminal Law Resources
Consult the following links for more information about Arizona Criminal law, as well as local court information: