How to Appeal a Criminal Conviction in Arizona
After you have been convicted of a crime in Arizona, the law offers you some options for relief or appeal. Only certain types of cases and issues are appealable, but if yours is, you may be able to challenge your conviction, or your sentence, through an appeal in the Arizona court system. Even if you have been convicted and have served and completed your sentence, you may still be eligible to restore your civil rights by having your criminal conviction set aside through the appeals process. Of course, you need a competent, qualified criminal defense lawyer to help you do so. This is because the appeals process is quite complicated, much more so than a criminal trial, and requires an attorney who has a thorough, complete understanding of the court’s advanced procedures and statutes regarding appeals.
Types of Appeals in Arizona
Once you have been convicted of a crime in Arizona, there are a few different types of conviction-review appeals. One is called post-conviction relief. Defendants must follow a certain process to file a motion for post-conviction relief, with the same trial court that issued the initial ruling in the case. This is done under Rule 32 or 33 of the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure. Rule 32 is used for appeals after you have been found guilty or sentenced at a hearing for probation violation. Rule 33 applies when you pled guilty at your initial trial. Many times, defendants will appeal cases citing ineffectiveness of legal counsel in their initial trial. This means that their original criminal defense lawyer did not represent them well at their initial trial.
Another type of appeal in the Arizona court system is direct appeal. This involves appealing a case if you were convicted after a trial in Arizona. This does not apply if you originally pled guilty in your initial trial, however, because when you do that, you give up most of your appellate rights. The argument in a direct appeal is usually that the initial trial court violated the defendant’s rights in some way.
Post-conviction relief in Arizona is a more limited appeals route than a direct appeal in the types of issues that can be raised. It does, however, allow you to present new facts and issues that are outside of the initial court record. Direct appeals, on the other hand, are limited to original facts and issues on the official court record from your initial trial, sentencing hearing or guilty plea.
A third type of conviction-review appeals is expungement of a conviction or a crime. Unfortunately, there is no expungement law in Arizona. Having a conviction set aside is Arizona’s alternative version of expungement. Here, a judge sets aside a judgment, dismisses charges, and releases the defendant from any and all penalties. Because the set aside provision only works in certain cases and must follow strict rules and procedures, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer handling your appeal to make sure that its outcome is favorable.
Contact Our Arizona Criminal Defense Law Firm Today
If you are faced with criminal charges in the state of Arizona or have been convicted of a crime, contact our criminal defense law firm today. Our attorneys have broad, comprehensive experience as criminal defense lawyers in Arizona. We handle all types of crimes and appeals, from DUI to drug crimes to violent offenses to domestic offenses to sex crimes and more. Our law firm also handles every stage of criminal proceedings, including but not limited to pre-indictment proceedings, plea bargains, appeals, and constitutional defenses. Contact our law firm today for a free initial meeting to see how we can help you.