Many criminal defendants find themselves with a conviction on their records, whether they pled guilty to the charges or they were found guilty by a jury at trial. Following a conviction, every defendant may directly appeal the higher court to review legal issues throughout your case. If that appeal is denied, many defendants believe they have no other avenues for relief. We are often asked: Can I get Relief after a Criminal Conviction in Philadelphia? However, the Pennsylvania Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) does allow convicted offenders another way to appeal. The criminal appeals lawyers at the Philadelphia office of The Zeiger Firm have significant experience in successfully handling PCRA appeals.
What is a PCRA appeal?
There are only certain issues you may bring up for the higher courts to review in your appeal under PCRA. The following are some examples of the issues you may allege:
- Your previous lawyer in your criminal case did not provide effective assistance of counsel (in either a guilty plea or a trial) and therefore the case could not have had a reliable result.
- You believe one of your rights under the United States Constitution was violated and that violation significantly affected the outcome of your case.
- You believe one of your rights under the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was violated and that violation significantly affected the outcome of your case.
- You believe your guilty plea was not valid because someone (your attorney, a prosecutor, a judge, etc.) unlawfully convinced you to plead guilty even though you were innocent.
- New evidence has become available that may exonerate you or otherwise be favorable to the outcome of your case, and that evidence was not available to be introduced at the time of your trial.
- You received a sentence greater than the maximum allowed by Pennsylvania law.
- The court that issued the conviction and sentence did not have jurisdiction to do so.
These appeals often involve very technical and complicated arguments and determinations of law, and you always want to make sure you have an attorney who fully understands the law behind PCRA appeals. Luckily, you can depend on attorney Brian Zeiger to handle your appeal in a skillful and experienced manner. Call today for help at 215.546.0340.