Sometimes things don’t go the way they should during a criminal trial. After a conviction and sentencing, defendants and their attorneys are left with important decisions to make about what to do next.
In Florida, two of the options that might be available to criminal defendants include writs of habeas corpus and motions for post-conviction relief.
When to Use a Writ of Habeas Corpus
Historically, writs of habeas corpus were used if a person was illegally detained or restrained by the government, and that is still true. A writ of habeas corpus typically asks the court to end the imprisonment or involuntary stay in a mental institution on the grounds that keeping the defendant in government custody violates the law.
A writ of habeas corpus cannot be used instead of a direct appeal or a post-conviction relief motion. As with other types of post-conviction motions and appeals, there are specific rules for filing a writ of habeas corpus that must be followed if a court is to hear your writ.
When to Use a Motion for Post-Conviction Relief
In Florida, people who are convicted of crimes in state court may also have the option to file a motion for post-conviction relief, also known as a 3.850 motion. These motions are often used to assert that ineffective assistance of counsel or newly discovered evidence impacted the court’s decision to convict. Accordingly, the defendant files a motion for post-conviction relief asking the court to vacate the sentence. If the court grants a motion for post-conviction relief, the defendant can be retried without violating the double jeopardy clause.
When to Consult a Post-Conviction Defense Attorney
It is essential to ask a Florida or federal court for the right type of relief. If you make a mistake and file a writ of habeas corpus instead of a motion for post-conviction relief or vice versa, justice may be delayed or denied in your case.
Accordingly, we encourage you to explore all of your post-conviction options with an experienced defense lawyer who will consider every possibility for justice and fight hard to protect your rights even after a criminal conviction.