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After being convicted, there are a few options other than receiving and accepting the sentence that was initially given. These options can reduce your sentence or clear you of the crime all together.
An appeal can be made on the grounds that a lower court made an error that resulted in the defendant losing the trial, which can allow the defendant to retry his case at a higher level court.
A certificate of rehabilitation can be obtained, which declares that someone who was once convicted is now being rehabilitated or seeking reformation. The purpose behind a certificate of rehabilitation is to reinstate rights to those who have proved themselves reformed enough to get them back.
If a convicted person feels as though they have been unlawfully imprisoned, then they can petition for a writ of habeas corpus asking for freedom. You can also have your record expunged, which removes your conviction from your criminal record. Expungement means that during a basic background check, depending on how extensive your criminal record was, there can be nothing that ties you to a criminal offense.
A person can receive a pardon after a conviction. A pardon is not indicative of innocence, a criminal record will not be sealed or destroyed, but it is used as post-conviction relief. It allows for the ownership of a firearm and the ability to be on a jury. There are also sentence modifications that can be made by the courts, which may allow for a reduction or some type of modification in relation to a probation sentence. This is similar to Prop 47 resentencing and it only applies to some convictions that are not considered too serious. It allows for another hearing where you will be represented by an attorney, and you can receive a change in your charge or a reduced sentence.
Filing for a rule 37 petition, much like an appeal, gives you another chance at trying your case, depending on whether or not a circuit grants or denies the petition. Rule 37 applies to when there is a failure to preserve electronically stored information (ESI), which could have resulted in the defendant losing the case.
The Innocence Project, is known to help exonerate innocent convicted people by finding exculpatory evidence through DNA testing. They also advocate or support reforms and policies that help toward the prevention of wrongful convictions. Since these post-conviction options have specific steps that need to be taken, it would be wise to acquire help from an experienced Arlington, TX criminal defense lawyer.
Thanks to Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into criminal justice and post-conviction options.