Appeal & Post-Conviction Relief

Appealing a Conviction with the Lexington Criminal Lawyer

Even after a conviction or a guilty plea, a defendant still has the right to have their case reviewed for legal errors and constitutional violations. James Snell is able to provide criminal appeal and post-conviction relief (PCR) services to those whose cases were originally tried by other lawyers.

A thorough review of the case and original court record, combined with up-to-date legal research is, however, always appropriate for those who have received serious and substantial sentences. In some instances a defendant may be allowed to remain free pending the outcome of their criminal appeal through obtainment of an appeal bond. The Lexington criminal defense lawyers at The Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC provide a free case evaluation to defendants and their families who are considering a criminal appeal or post-conviction relief proceeding.

Criminal Appeals

Filing an appeal is a process whereby a defendant asks a higher court to review their case and look for legal errors. Defendants who were convicted at the municipal or magistrate court level appeal directly to the court of common pleas. We represent clients in appealing DUI convictions and in appealing CDV convictions. Defendants who were convicted for non-capital offenses in general sessions appeal their cases to the South Carolina Court of Appeals. Defendants who were convicted of capital offenses have their first appeal heard by the South Carolina Supreme Court. It is possible to appeal both a trial conviction as well as a guilty plea.

To request an appeal a defendant must timely file a notice of intent to appeal within ten days of their sentencing. If this deadline is missed it may mean that the defendant has lost his right to an appeal. After the notice of intent to appeal is filed a copy of the trial transcript from the court reporter is ordered. When it arrives, our team reviews the record for obvious - and subtle - errors of law that may have caused or increased the probability, of the conviction. After a review of our findings, along with up-to-date legal research, we file a legal brief making those legal arguments with the court. It generally takes one year or more for a criminal appeal to be ultimately ruled on by the court.

Post-Conviction Relief

Post-conviction relief, or PCR, is a petition usually filed after the criminal appeal has concluded. Most post-conviction relief filings claim that the defendant's conviction is unconstitutional because of ineffective assistance of counsel, although there are other possible grounds. To request post-conviction relief it is necessary to do so within one year of the conclusion of the criminal appeal. An appellate attorney from our firm will review the record looking for all obvious, and subtle, errors or omissions that occurred. We file a legal brief summarizing our findings with the court. It generally takes one year or more for a post-conviction relief proceeding to be ruled on. As part of the process the court will schedule a hearing in which the defendant will be able to testify and explain the exact shortcomings in their case or prior representation. Defendants who are incarcerated will be transported to court for their hearing. When the court grants the petition it will set-aside the prior conviction or guilty plea, and give the defendant a fresh-start in their case. Defendants may ask that the outcome of their post-conviction relief case be appealed to the South Carolina Supreme Court. PCR is also the method by which to obtain a belated appeal.

Federal Appeals

Defendants also have the right to have their cases reviewed by the United States federal courts up to the United States Supreme Court. The procedural requirements and filing deadlines are too complicated to be explained in this format, however, they may include the filing of a writ of habeas corpus.

Family Court Appeals

In addition to being experienced with assisting clients in appeals from criminal law cases, our attorneys are also available to help those who need to challenge any final order of the South Carolina Family Court. This includes matters pertaining to adoption, custody, alimony, or other important issues. We are available to assist with appealing any type of final Family Court order from any county in South Carolina. Because there is only a limited time-period to request an appeal, you should request a consultation with us as soon as soon as you begin thinking about an appeal (please note, a consultation fee will apply).

If you have been convicted on federal criminal charges in Lexington or Columbia and want to learn whether you have grounds to file an appeal, bring the case to us for a free consultation.

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