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The Appeals Process After an Arizona Criminal Conviction

The law provides Arizona defendants with certain avenues of relief after a criminal conviction. While there are restrictions regarding what types of cases and issues are appealable, many defendants can challenge a conviction or sentence. If one has completed their sentence, they may be eligible to restore their civil rights by setting aside a criminal conviction. Appeals are much more complicated than criminal trials, and the proceedings require a comprehensive understanding of complex statutory and procedural rules.

The main types of conviction-review mechanisms are post-conviction relief and direct appeals. Once a court convicts and sentences a party, a defendant has the right to file a motion for post-conviction relief. These petitions are filed with the same trial court that issued the initial ruling. The Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure (ARCP) designate the appealable issues permitted in these petitions. Specifically, Rule 32 provides an avenue for relief after the defendant has been found guilty or sentenced at a probation violation proceeding. Moreover, Rule 33 pertains to situations where a defendant pled guilty. The majority of these petitions assert ineffective assistance of counsel claims.

For instance, the Arizona Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion in a defendant’s petition to review a trial court’s order dismissing his petition for post-conviction relief. The appeal arose after a jury trial convicted the defendant of aggravated domestic violence, criminal damage, and influencing a witness in two consolidated cases. The defendant argued that his counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the consolidation.

Under Arizona law, if consolidation was appropriate, the court cannot state the result of the action would have been different if the attorney performed differently. However, the law also provides specific rules regarding when a trial court may join cases. The appeals court agreed that the defendant failed to establish that the trial attorney’s actions were deficient. Notwithstanding the attorney’s conduct, the court granted the petition to review the post-conviction petition. However, ultimately, they found that the trial court did not err or abuse its discretion when consolidating the cases.

In addition to post-conviction relief, defendants may appeal a case if they were convicted after a trial. However, this typically does not apply in situations where a defendant pleads guilty, because they give up most of their appellate rights. An attorney can file this appeal with a higher court to review the lower court’s legal decisions. In these situations, defendants generally argue that the trial court committed some violation of their rights. Finally, under Arizona law, certain convictions and crimes are eligible for expungement. Although, unlike other states, true expungement is not available in Arizona. Instead, a judge may set aside a judgment, dismisses the charges, and releases the defendant from penalties. Arizona’s strict expungement rules highlight the importance of an experienced attorney during trial and appeals.

Contact an Arizona Criminal Lawyer

If you face Arizona criminal charges or have been convicted of a crime, contact the Law Office of James E. Novak. Attorney Novak has extensive experience as a reputable Arizona DUI and criminal defense attorney. Attorney Novak’s unique background provides him with the ability to provide clients with a strategic and effective defense. He handles claims stemming from Arizona DUIs, assaults, battery, domestic offenses, theft, homicides and sex offenses. Further, he can handle all stages of a criminal proceeding including, plea bargains, pre-indictment proceedings, constitutional defenses, and appeals. Contact The Law Office of James E. Novak at 480-413-1499 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.

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