What is Post-Conviction Relief?

What is Post-Conviction Relief?

How Post-Conviction Relief Can Help Your Case

Even after being convicted of a federal offense and running out of appeal options, there is a potential in some situations to obtain relief for the offense for which you have been charged. This term is called post-conviction relief. Many times, this relief comes in the form of a Sec. 2255 motion. Because 2255 motions involve a limited group of issues and a person only has one chance to file, it is critical to obtain the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. Fortunately, at the Federal Criminal Law Center, we have helped many people pursue these unique motions for relief.

The Availability of Relief for Federal Offenses

Any person who is convicted of a federal offense and is considered to be in custody is capable of filing a 2255 motion to challenge the conviction and its resulting sentence. These motions can not include claims that would have been raised on appeal. Instead, these motions are made on the grounds that your charges and conviction were in violation of any of the following:

  • The United States Constitution
  • Ineffective assistance of counsel in violation of the Sixth Amendment
  • Violations of due process
  • Other federal laws
  • Misconduct by the prosecution
  • Without jurisdiction of the court that sentenced you
  • In excess of the maximum authorized by the law

How a 2255 Motion Must be Filed

2255 motions must be filed within one year after a conviction becomes final. This one year period will begin when either you have run out of appeal options or the window you had to seek appellate options has run out. These motions must be filed in trial court and will be assigned to the judge who presided in the court that decided your original conviction.

The Relief Granted by Courts

If a 2255 motion is successful, a court will have several options, which include vacating your sentence, setting aside your sentence, correcting the sentence, or granting a new trial. If a court denies your 2255 motion, you will not have a right to automatic appeal. Instead, you must first obtain a certificate of appealability from the court of appeals or the appropriate district court. Certificates of appealability are only granted if you can make a substantial showing that your Constitutional rights were denied. In some situations, the court might dismiss your motion before requiring the government to respond as to why relief would not be granted. In other situations, the court might directly order the government to show why relief should be granted. The court will often later decide based on available pleadings and an evidentiary hearing whether relief should be denied or granted.  

Contact a Knowledgeable Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one is having a difficult time returning to normal after a conviction, it is important to remember that there are various options to pursue. While achieving post-conviction relief is not guaranteed, having an experienced attorney representing is necessary for a successful outcome. At the Federal Criminal Law Center, we understand the numerous challenges faced by people with a criminal record and we will do our best to help you return to how life was before your criminal charges. Contact our law office today to schedule a free case evaluation.