"To open blind eyes, to bring prisoners out of a dungeon, those who sit in darkness out of a prison."
- Isaiah 42

3 forms of post-conviction relief

On Behalf of | Apr 16, 2024 | Post-Conviction Relief

Those who take criminal matters to court in New York often expect to prevail by proving their innocence. They prepare a defense strategy with the assistance of an attorney in the expectation that the courts should find them not guilty. Unfortunately, criminal proceedings don’t always unfold in the way that defendants and their lawyers anticipate. Sometimes, even those who have made a strong case in court receive an unfavorable outcome at the end of a criminal trial.

While an unexpected criminal conviction may seem like the end of the road for some people, there are still options available for some who have been convicted of wrongdoing. Post-conviction relief can help someone respond to an unfavorable trial outcome and reduce the long-term impact of their conviction. The following are three of the most common options of post-conviction relief.

Filing an appeal

Defendants who believe that the courts erred in their interpretation of the law may have the option of appealing their convictions. Typically, it is necessary to ask relatively quickly after a trial to successfully appeal a conviction. In most cases, lawyers must initiate appeals within 14 days of the initial ruling.

Filing motions to vacate

It is possible to review someone’s criminal conviction and vacate a wrongful conviction. Depending on the charges someone faced in the evidence the state used in their case, there may be numerous different approaches available to a defendant. New York law provides 10 different grounds for a request to vacate what they believe is an unjust conviction. Improper evidence, mental health issues and the discovery of new evidence could all warrant motions to vacate a conviction.

Filing motions to seal records

Even in scenarios where a dependent does not have grounds for an appeal and may not qualify to vacate an unfair conviction, it may be possible to limit the impact the criminal record of their offense may have on their future. Petitioning in the courts to seal certain criminal records can allow people to continue their education or seek out employment opportunities despite their prior brush with the criminal justice system.

Pursuing post-conviction relief can improve the circumstances of those recently convicted of a criminal offense in New York who are eligible for this kind of relief. Reviewing every option can help someone choose the best response to an unexpected loss in criminal court.