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Appeals & 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.

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 can take up to two years or more for a General Sessions appeal to be decided.

While defendants do have a right to appeal both a trial conviction and a guilty plea, the appellate courts only consider guilty plea appeals if there is an allegation made of a specific legal error committed by the court. Appeals are generally not the appropriate venue to raise objections to the length of a sentence.

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.

Appeal vs. Motion to Reconsider

If we are retained immediately after sentencing it can be possible to file a motion to reconsider, grant a new trial, or vacate a guilty plea. This can be an effective strategy for a missed court date, or to try to establish some court record or basis to justify an appeal. There is a 10 day time period to file these types of motions. An appeal can still be filed 10 days after a decision on a timely filed motion.

Post-Conviction Relief

Post-conviction relief, or PCR, is a petition 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.

Ineffective assistance grounds can include things such as:

  • Incorrect advice about the law or possible sentence
  • Not utilizing an investigator or a proper expert witness
  • Failure to spend enough time with a defendant
  • Failure to obtain discovery, or review it with the defendant
  • Having an undisclosed conflict of interest

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. Many PCR filings can benefit from hiring a private investigator to look for evidence or witnesses first missed, or experts to help review evidence and offer testimony originally omitted.

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.

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 and want to learn whether you have grounds to file an appeal, bring the case to us for a free consultation.

Former Clients' Experiences

  • “Thank you so much for handling my case for me. Since the first moment I talked with you I felt a sense of relief. I knew I had found a true professional, how relieved I was every step of the way. I will never forget your help.”

    Former Client

  • “You absolutely exceeded every possible expectation I had. I'm simply amazed at how quickly you got results for me. I am beyond happy that I hired you.”

    Former Client

  • “I would first like to thank you for accepting my case! I also want to thank you for the friendly help and support that you and your time provided. The service exceeded my expectations… I am relieved to have my case to be over and I appreciate the measures ”

    Former Client

  • “Thanks to you and your staff, a heavy burden has been lifted off my shoulders, and I can't thank you enough.”

    Former Client

  • “Thank you for being so kind and understanding and getting me out of the mess I got myself into…”

    Former Client

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  • Better Business Bureau - Accredited Business
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • South Carolina Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Top 100 Trial Lawyers - The National Trial Lawyers
  • 10.0 Superb Avvo Rating - Top Attorney DUI

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