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Facts about post-conviction proceedings

On Behalf of | Aug 12, 2022 | CRIMINAL LAW - Criminal Appeals

When Washington residents get convicted of a crime, they may find themselves feeling hopeless. You may think that your only recourse is to accept the conviction and move on with your life. However, you may be able to appeal your conviction through post-conviction proceedings.

What are post-conviction proceedings?

Post-conviction proceedings are a type of criminal appeal. They allow you to challenge your conviction on the grounds that there was some error in the criminal justice process. Firstly, for example, you might argue that your criminal defense lawyer was ineffective. Secondly, you might argue that the prosecutor withheld evidence that would have helped your case.

If you are successful in post-conviction proceedings, your conviction may get overturned, and you may get a new trial. Alternatively, your sentence may get reduced. In some cases, you may even be released from prison.

What’s the difference between post-conviction proceedings and a criminal appeal?

When it comes to appeals, there are two different types: criminal appeals and post-conviction proceedings. A criminal appeal challenges the verdict or sentence that was imposed at trial on the grounds that there was some legal error. Post-conviction proceedings, on the other hand, challenge the actual process of the trial itself. You can only present new evidence in post-conviction proceedings that was not available at the time of trial.

For example, suppose you got convicted of murder. You might file a criminal appeal, arguing that the jury should have found you guilty of manslaughter instead. Alternatively, you might file post-conviction proceedings, arguing that your defense lawyer was ineffective and that if you had had a better lawyer you would have been acquitted. Criminal appeals are typically heard by the same court that presided over the trial. Post-conviction proceedings, on the other hand, are usually heard by a different court.

It’s important to note that post-conviction proceedings are usually very complex and time-consuming. They can also be expensive. However, if you have new evidence that could potentially overturn your conviction, it may be worth pursuing post-conviction proceedings.