Post-Conviction Relief Process in Arizona
After facing a conviction, you are likely scrambling to challenge the ruling. In the state of Arizona, you have two basic means of doing this, one being an appeal and the other being post-conviction relief. It is the latter option we will discuss in-depth below:
What is Post Conviction Relief Arizona?
The post-conviction relief, also known as Rule 32 because it is Rule 32 in the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure, is the only option for reviewing a conviction if you took a plea agreement in your case. Post-conviction relief is also a way you can claim you had ineffective counsel in either an appeal, trial, or plea.
What Circumstances Are Applicable For Post-Conviction Relief
There are several issues that you can raise using post-conviction relief or Rule 32, including the following grounds for post-conviction relief:
- The court involved in your case did not have jurisdiction to issue the judgment given, or they had no right to impose your sentence.
- Your sentence exceeds the maximum allowed conviction by law or is not in accordance with the sentence.
- Your imposed sentence violates either the Arizona or United States constitutions.
- You remained in custody after your sentence expired.
- There are material facts that were recently discovered that could have changed either the sentence you were given or the verdict of your trial.
- You were not responsible for a failure to file either a notice of appeal or post-conviction relief within the predetermined, required timeframe.
- There has been a notable change in a law that could overturn your sentence or conviction if it was applied to your case.
- There is persuasive evidence that would likely prevent a conviction based on an inability to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt or would likely prevent a death penalty from being imposed.
What is The Post-Conviction Relief Process?
The first step of post-conviction relief begins by filing a notice and petition. Similar to an appeal, you will file a designation of record and request. This will ensure your transcripts are produced. The trial court has the ability to reject any of the claims without the petition without a hearing. If your petition moves to a hearing, this is when additional evidence might be presented, which is what happens during a rule 32 proceeding. Similar to an appeal, if you are granted relief through this process, you could garner a partial rehearing, new trial or might have an affirmation of your conviction.
Post-Conviction Relief Timeline
Post-conviction relief follows a rigid timeline. The notice of post-conviction relief, for non-capital cases, must be filed within 30 days after an order has been issued for an appeal or within 90 days of a sentence or judgment, whichever comes later. A failure to adhere to this strict timeline could result in the disqualification of applicable claims that possibly could have led to an overturned sentence or conviction. If you exhaust all avenues for post-conviction relief within Arizona state courts, then you can have your case reviewed in a federal court.
Common Mistakes Involving Post-Conviction Relief
- Starting before sentencing: The paperwork involved in filing for post-conviction relief cannot preclude a sentence.
- Miss the timeline: While extensions can be granted, you must keep ahead of the timeline outlined above. You cannot miss this important deadline.
- Not keeping records: Make sure to file all your evidence away, whether it was used in your trial or not. Accurate records are extremely helpful, even a singular digital file or scrap of paper can change the outcome of a post-conviction relief petition.
Contacting a Post-Conviction Relief Attorney
Regardless of the circumstances, if you find yourself facing a conviction, it’s worthwhile to have another legal professional take a look at your case’s proceedings. As a post-conviction relief attorney, The Nolan Law Firm can determine if post-conviction relief is applicable in your situation. The process of filing a post-relief petition is complicated, so let us work for you. Time is of the essence when utilizing this legal tool, though, so reach out to us today.