Appeal a DV Conviction
Overturning a Conviction in Lexington, South Carolina
Have you already gone to court and plead guilty or been found guilty of
domestic violence? If so, we can assist you with either a
domestic violence appeal or petition for
You should contact us if any of the following apply:
- You went to court and disagree with the outcome of what occurred
- You plead guilty without a lawyer
- You forgot your court date and were tried in your absence
- You plead guilty after the court or your lawyer gave you wrong information
We can help with any DV case in any county in South Carolina.
Being convicted of domestic violence can have drastic consequences on your
life. It can affect your employment for life, and can have consequences
in Family Court and prevent you from owning a firearm.
Everyone who has been convicted of domestic violence has a right to have
their situation reviewed, but in order to do it is important that you
act quickly. Rights to appeal expire within days of going to court, and
for post-conviction relief petition there is a strict one-year deadline.
You can hire our office for your appeal whether you represented yourself
during your original proceeding or were represented by another attorney.
If your DV appeal is successful, it will result in either a dismissal
of your conviction or an award of a new trial.
Contact our Lexington domestic violence lawyer to appeal your conviction today!
Right to Appeal a CDV Conviction
domestic violence convictions in South Carolina can be appealed. Convictions that originate
in a municipal court (city police), a magistrate court or a local CDV
court are taken to the court of common pleas. Appeals from transfer court
or general sessions are taken to the South Carolina Court of Appeals.
You have a right to appeal your conviction after pleading guilty to DV
or after being found guilty after a bench or jury trial.
You must act immediately in order to appeal a conviction for criminal domestic
violence, so it is important that you move quickly to enlist the help
of a Lexington criminal defense attorney from our firm. The proper forms
must be filed with the court and served on the prosecution within ten
days of your conviction. If this time period passes you forever lose your
right to appeal the conviction.
Appealing a Guilty Plea in Lexington, South Carolina
You have a right to appeal after pleading guilty to any domestic violence
offense. Although an appeal based solely on a defendant changing their
mind about pleading guilty will not be successful, in some cases there
are grounds to appeal after a guilty plea. These may include failures
of the court to advise you about the rights to an attorney and to a jury
trial, or misrepresents what the sentence will be. Other issues may involve
defendants who were unable to understand the court proceedings due to:
- Mental illness
- Special needs
- Being from a foreign country
After a Criminal Trial
You have a right to appeal after being convicted of DV after a bench (judge
only) or jury trial. The available grounds may include any errors of law
committed by your trial court including allowing hearsay testimony, admitting
evidence from illegal searches, or allowing unqualified expert testimony,
such as a police officer's testimony regarding "freshness"
of injuries. There may also be grounds if the court cannot establish that
you made a knowledgeable decision about waiving your right to a jury trial,
right to remain silent, or an attorney.
Another way to challenge a conviction is through a process called post-conviction
relief (PCR). This isn’t an appeal; instead it is a special type
of lawsuit filed against the government challenging the conviction. Most
of the time the grounds are based on ineffective assistance of counsel,
that means that something wrong the original defense lawyer did or did
not do. Possible grounds can also include situations where a defendant
went to court by themselves and acted as their own attorney.
In one case, attorney James Snell was able to use the PCR procedures to
obtain a re-opening and then a dismissal of a client’s DV conviction.
The client went to court by himself and was found guilty by the judge.
Later, the PCR court found that the original court’s procedures
to ensure that defendants were properly advised about their legal rights
was inadequate, and ordered the conviction to be overturned. (Any result obtained on behalf of other clients in other matters does not
necessarily indicate that similar results can be obtained for other clients).
The PCR process must begin within one year of the original conviction or
the end of any appeal. It is begun by filing a petition with the Court
of Common Pleas. The state will be represented by the Attorney General’s
office. It is the same procedure to file for PCR for a DV 3rd conviction, or a case from General Sessions.
Motions for New Trial
If you did not appear at your original court date and were convicted in
your absence, you have a right to have a lawyer prepare and file a motion
for a new trial. This is the formal mechanism to seek to re-open your
case and give you a new court date. It is important that if you plan on
doing this you act immediately, as your time to do so in usually limited
to ten days after you learn your conviction.
In most circumstances the law allows the judge to decide, either way, if
the case will be re-opened. However many times they are willing to do
so. We have found that sometimes cases will be re-opened even if you just
mixed up your dates on your calendar (and often times judges are more
willing to help if you are up-front about this rather than try to make
up another excuse). Here are some more examples of situations that might
cause a judge to consider granting a new court date:
- Sudden major illness or injury
- Death in the immediate family
- Scheduling conflict with another court
- Being rearrested and held in jail
Time is always of the essence when filing a motion for a new trial. We
frequently try to get our paperwork filed the same day we are hired (and
sometimes within the first hour).
If you have been convicted and believe that there may be a way to contest
the case, contact us now for a free consultation. We serve clients in
South Carolina, including those in
Columbia. A Lexington
criminal defense lawyer from our team can review the circumstances of your case to determine
whether you have grounds to file an appeal, and we are ready to take immediate
action on your behalf.
Call our office today to learn more.