A criminal conviction can feel earth-shattering. However, you have the right to appeal. But what happens if your appeal fails? Are you out of luck?

Post-conviction relief may be an option

A failed appeal does not necessarily leave you without any options. The law allows for post-conviction relief in certain circumstances. Relief may come in the form of a new trial. It could even result in your being freed from prison. However, you can’t just demand post-conviction relief because you’re unhappy with the result of your case. Courts are only likely to grant relief based on a narrow set of circumstances.

You have the right to a full and complete defense. Your defense shouldn’t be impeded by the prosecution or harmed because of poor representation. For example, if the prosecution acts unethically in its pursuit of a conviction, you may have solid grounds for requesting relief. You may also have a strong claim for post-conviction relief if your lawyer was incompetent. Another situation where relief may be warranted is if your rights were violated, such as being held illegally.

The clearer you can make the link between the harmful behavior and the unfavorable outcome, the better shot you have at achieving relief. For example, if your attorney was entirely ineffectual at your trial, you can show how this poor representation harmed your chances on appeal. If the link is less clear, you will have to provide stronger evidence for your post-conviction relief claim.

Of course, any chance at post-conviction relief depends on the unique set of facts surrounding your case. You do not have to automatically give up after a failed appeal. You should discuss your options with a skilled legal professional.