You want to right the injustice that was done to you at trial, and you want to be treated fairly. You may not care how the trial court error is fixed, as long as you don’t pay the price of an unfair criminal conviction. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may have the right to file an appeal, and you may also have the right to file a post-conviction motion for relief. Appeals and post-conviction motions for relief are two different legal procedures and to protect your rights, you should understand how each one is used.
Appeals Generally Come Before Post-Conviction Motions for Relief
In most cases, you will pursue a direct appeal with a Florida appellate court before filing a post-conviction motion for relief.
You can file an appeal if you believe the trial court made an error. Florida appellate courts can hear appeals on potential errors that your lawyer objected to during trial or that are fundamental to your case. Some examples of issues that may be reasons for an appeal include:
- Improper jury instructions
- Lack of jurisdiction
- Due process violations
Once the appellate court issues a ruling, you can decide what to do next. If the appellate court finds in your favor, the case may be sent back to the trial court for further action.
If, however, the appellate court finds against you, you may need to protect your rights through a post-conviction motion for relief, also known as a Motion to Vacate Sentence, or a Rule 3.850 Motion. Generally, you can file a 3.850 motion if you allege one of the following:
- You had ineffective assistance of counsel during trial
- There is new evidence in your case
A successful post-conviction motion for relief could mean that your case is dismissed or that it is sent back to the trial court to be tried again.
Do not make these important decisions about your future on your own. Instead, consult with an experienced criminal post-conviction lawyer who can advise you of your legal options and help you pursue justice. Contact board-certified criminal trial lawyer Robert Malove today to learn more.