If you’ve been convicted of a crime in Arizona you may be able to file an appeal or a petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). The courts are operated by people – people make mistakes. In some cases, verdicts and convictions are issued based on errors during the original court proceedings. An appeal or a petition for post-conviction relief grants those convicted of a crime the opportunity to challenge their original verdict. Rather than a new trial, an appeal revisits the evidence, arguments, and other details of the original case to ensure the defendant was treated justly and fairly. In some cases, appeals and PCRs can lead to a reversal of a conviction or even a new trial. If you feel you’ve been treated unfairly by the courts, you owe it to yourself to challenge your conviction. Our Phoenix defense attorney Elizabeth Mullins has years of experience fighting for her clients in Arizona appellate courts. The appellate and trial courts are separate. You need an attorney with experience appealing and overturning convictions.
What is an Appeal?
An appeal is a request to a higher court to reverse a decision made by a lower court. After a judge hands down a sentence, it can feel like the fight is over. Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be the case. In the State of Arizona, those convicted of a criminal offense are entitled to challenge the original verdict. Your appeals attorney will obtain all the records from the original court proceedings, combing each line for infringements on your rights. A review of court records can lead to a reduction of charges, a reduced sentence, a new trial, or a complete conviction reversal.
- Reviews of original court records
- Searches for errors or omissions in the original court proceedings
- Examinations of the original case to ensure the outcome observed your rights.
- Your constitutional right
Appeals ARE NOT:
- A time to call new witnesses
- An opportunity to submit new evidence
- A guarantee of favorable outcome
- A new trial in and of themselves
The appellate court will only consider evidence included in the original court record: transcripts of the hearings and trial and motions filed by the lawyers. If your lawyer can detect any errors with the manner in which your case was originally handled, you may be able to appeal your verdict. Appeals have an incredibly short period for filing. Those wishing to appeal the verdicts handed down by Maricopa, Pima, Yuma, Pinal or other Arizona Superior Courts MUST file their appeal within 20 days of the original judgment and sentencing. If your conviction is from a city court or a justice court, that period is reduced to only 10 days. Don’t run out of time with your freedom at stake. Call the Law Office of Elizabeth Mullins in Phoenix to discuss your appeal today.
What is a Petition for Post-Conviction Relief (PCR)?
A Petition for Post-Conviction Relief (PCR) is a request to the Superior Court to reverse a conviction. If the mistakes in your case are not apparent from the trial record, or if you accepted a plea offer instead of going to trial, you will need to file a Petition for Post-Conviction Relief rather than an Appeal.
After a judge hands down a sentence, it can feel like the fight is over. Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be the case. In the State of Arizona, those convicted of a criminal offense are entitled to challenge the original verdict. Your appeals attorney will obtain all the records from the original court proceedings, combing each line for infringements on your rights. A review of court records can lead to a reduction of charges, a reduced sentence, a new trial, or a complete conviction reversal.
How do Appeals and Petitions for Post-Conviction Relief Work?
The State prosecutes criminal charges vigorously. For appeals, the burden of action is on you. It is imperative appeals and PCRs are filed within the short limits set by the State of Arizona. Generally speaking, the right to file an Appeal expires 20 days after sentencing for any Superior Court case, and only 10 days after sentencing for any city court or justice court case. The deadline to file a PCR is 90 days after sentencing or within 30 days after an order or mandate by an appellate court. If you wait to file, you may lose your chance.
First, a Notice of Appeal or a Petition for Post-Conviction Relief is filed outlining the claims that you wish to be reviewed by the appellate court. Then transcripts of the trial or any hearings in your case are prepared and obtained. Your lawyer will also obtain the original case file from your trial level attorney. With this information, a brief is filed on your behalf, outlining all of the arguments that support the reduction of your sentence or reversal of your conviction. The prosecutor is given an opportunity to respond and a reply to the prosecutor’s response may be permitted. The appellate court can then issue a decision on the briefs, or set the case for an oral argument or an evidentiary hearing.
An attentive and skilled attorney can help ensure you don’t waive any arguments that may get your conviction reversed. Appeals and PCRs are legal proceedings. An application alone does not guarantee a different outcome. Increase the odds of success. Gain the advantage of an experienced Arizona appellate attorney on your side.