If you’re convicted and sentenced for a criminal offense, you might feel like your life is over, and there’s nothing you can do. However, you may have the option to appeal, overturn your conviction, or alter your sentence and secure your release much sooner in certain circumstances. It can be a complicated legal process, but here are your Ohio post-conviction options and the possible ways to restore your freedom.

What Is Post-Conviction Relief?

A post-conviction petition seeks a remedy from the court, usually a reversal of a conviction, release from prison, or a sentence reduction. Your rights concerning post-conviction relief are outlined in Ohio Revised Code § 2953.21.

Why Seek Post-Conviction Relief?

Though a guilty verdict might seem final, the justice system allows for post-conviction appeals on various grounds. You may wish to pursue post-conviction relief for several reasons — for example, if new evidence has come to light, a judicial error occurred, or your legal rights were violated during the original trial.

The post-conviction relief process exists to offer those wrongfully convicted or mistreated during their trial a chance to petition for their freedom or more appropriate punishment.

Types of Post-Conviction Relief & Appeals

Based on the circumstances and evidence, a few types of post-conviction relief and appeals are possible. Seeking post-conviction relief may result in a resentencing, retrial, or vacating the initial verdict.

Whatever your motivation for seeking post-conviction relief, you may be able to pursue the following:

Motion for a New Trial

A motion for a new trial is filed with the original trial judge of your case. You may be eligible to move for a new trial if you discover new evidence which could have impacted the original verdict.

If the motion is granted, you will be retried and could face a different verdict or sentence depending on the outcome.

Direct Appeal

One of the most common appeals is a direct appeal to a higher court in the state. A direct appeal is not a new trial and is typically limited to what is already within the case record, meaning introducing new evidence is not allowed.

In this appeal, you’ll have to show how a legal error during the trial led to a wrongful conviction or how your rights were infringed. A successful direct appeal could vacate the original conviction and sentence.

Writ of Habeas Corpus

Latin for “that you have the body,” a writ of habeas corpus is a civil action to determine if a person’s imprisonment or detention is lawful. Unlike a direct appeal, a habeas corpus petition allows you to present new evidence to challenge your imprisonment.

A habeas corpus petition must clearly outline your reasons for believing the writ should be granted and why your imprisonment is unlawful. If a writ is granted, you could qualify for a reduced or altered sentence or be released from custody.

Judicial Release

Judicial release is where an incarcerated individual requests early release after serving part of a sentence. Judicial release is distinct from direct appeals and petitions for habeas corpus. It asks the court to consider ending a sentence because the individual has been rehabilitated, not because of a legal error or wrongful conviction.

The decision for a judicial release is left to a judge, who will consider:

  • How much of the sentence has been served vs. the time remaining
  • The criminal offense you were convicted of
  • Whether you’ve previously petitioned for release

Not all sentences are eligible for reduction through a judicial release, such as if you are serving a mandatory term of incarceration.

Consult a Lawyer about Your Post-Conviction Appeal

Time is an essential factor in any post-conviction appeal. The more time your attorney has to look into the details of your case, the better prepared they will be to represent you in an appeal or petition.

A post-conviction relief and appeal attorney will thoroughly review your trial record to identify any legal errors that may have negatively affected the outcome of your case or any conditions that may make you eligible for a reduced sentence.

Contact Erb Legal for Help

Obtaining post-conviction relief and winning an appeal is often an uphill battle and not likely one you can win on your own. The appeal process can be complex and should be handled by an experienced attorney. The Ohio post-conviction relief lawyers at Erb Legal know what it takes to file a successful petition to help you achieve the best possible outcome.

If you or a loved one have been convicted of a criminal offense and believe you might be eligible for an appeal or post-conviction relief, call (330) 869-9007 to schedule a free consultation.

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