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How To Overturn A Conviction: Win The War, Not The Battle

The Law Firm of Andrea M. Kolski

You got convicted of a crime. The problem with this conviction is that the crime was one you didn’t commit. The police officer who arrested you had no reason to.

It’s a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and sort of resembling the actual perpetrator. While it’s rare to overturn a conviction, it isn’t unheard of.

In this case, if it’s proven that the officer had no reason to arrest you, the case can be revisited, and you may even win. Check out this guide to learn how to plea for another trial and beat your wrongful conviction.

Plea for Another Trial

After the sentencing, your lawyer has 30 days to motion for another trial. The lawyer that submits the paperwork for another trial will most likely be the same one that represented you in court, and the judge to look over the paperwork will be the same one that handled your trial.

It will be up to that judge to decide if your case deserves to be revisited. Revisiting isn’t approved too often, but it may be accepted under extreme circumstances such as an illegal search or new evidence.

Go for a Direct Appeal

The most common way to overturn wrongful convictions is by going for a direct appeal. Your lawyer will submit paperwork 30 days after your conviction took place. Instead of going back to the judge that handled your trial, however, this paperwork will go to a panel of judges.

These judges don’t check to see if the jury made a good decision, though. What they do is check and see if there were any legal errors involved with your trial. They may believe that the jury’s decision is wrong, but unless there is an error, they might still decide to let the conviction pass.

Writ of Habeas Corpus

The writ of habeas corpus is written up and submitted after you put in for a direct appeal. It’s used in situations where the lawyer believes your constitutional rights were violated during your trial.

Most of the time, this means that your trial lawyer made an error. Perhaps they forgot to submit a key piece of evidence to the jury, or they failed to question an important witness.

You probably won’t know that these errors happened until you hire a second lawyer to look behind the first.

Things That Will Affect Your Conviction

If your case goes back to trial, certain things will affect the new ruling. Here is a list of common factors.

Illegal Search

If an officer stops you for seemingly no reason to search your vehicle, that is a violation.

If they break into your home and start searching the place without a warrant, that’s a violation. They can only search without a warrant under rare circumstances. For example, if they think you may have a weapon or you’re driving while intoxicated.

They could enter your home without a warrant if someone reported something serious such as hearing gunshots.

The judge may decide to continue with the trial while omitting any evidence provided from the illegal search. If there is no further evidence, there is no more conviction.

No Probable Reason to Arrest

Similarly to an illegal search, if it turns out the cop had no reason to arrest you, the conviction most likely won’t stick. For example, they make you stop and pull over when you haven’t committed any type of road violation.

Maybe you’re standing outside a store and sort of look like a perpetrator that they got a call about. If it’s proven that you didn’t commit a crime, there will be no reason to keep you.

Not Enough Evidence

There can be no conviction if there isn’t enough evidence to prove that you committed the crime. All evidence provided must be fact-based.

Evidence that isn’t fact-based isn’t acceptable. If there is not enough credible evidence to prove the crime was committed, then the charges have to be dismissed.

No Jurisdiction

A court can only take cases that happen within its jurisdiction. Every now and again, the court will overstep this rule and listen to a case that they don’t have the authority to hear.

If you’re arrested for a crime that took place on state property and your case gets sent to a federal court, you may be able to get your conviction overturned.

Criminal Compliant Mistake

When you’re arrested, the officer fills out a certain form. This form must be signed by the officer. If it’s not, or something else is wrong with the paperwork, it can be fixed, but the officer who wrote the report has to do it.

If that officer is no longer available for any reason and can’t sign the forms, your case isn’t valid, and the conviction won’t stick.

Missing Key Witness

If one of the key witnesses for your case dies or unavailable for questioning for any reason, the persecutor might not have the evidence they need to convict you.

In some cases, the court asks the witness to identify the person involved with the crime. If they can’t remember what the person looked like or can’t remember if it was you, that will put a pause on conviction as well.

Overturn a Conviction and Get the Justice You Deserve

Have you gotten in trouble for a crime that you didn’t commit? It’s rare to overturn a conviction, but it’s not unheard of. With the right lawyer, you might be able to reopen your case or fill out the paperwork necessary to go for a direct appeal.

If the circumstances are right and it can be proven that you didn’t commit the crime, you’ll be free to go. We can help you out with that. Contact our law firm and tell us about your case.

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