When Should You File a Post Conviction Relief Petition in New Jersey?
Linden Attorney Advising Clients in Rahway, Clark, Roselle Park, Garwood, Elizabeth, Cranford, Edison and across New Jersey
The current COVID-19/Coronavirus situation may mean you’re at home thinking about your life and wondering about your job or life options once day-today-life resumes. Do you have a conviction on your record that’s limiting your ability to thrive or live your best life? Being convicted of a crime, even a DWI/DUI, can affect your life and your livelihood, long after you served your time. Prior convictions can severely impact future job, education, and housing opportunities, as well as may significantly increase penalties or charges you may receive if you are arrested again or end up in court.
New Jersey Court Rule 3:22 is a procedure for overturning a conviction and lays out the grounds for a Post Conviction Relief (PCR) petition or motion, as well as the criteria for this kind of litigation. A PCR is not an appeal but an important safeguard built into our criminal justice system, designed to provide yet another means of ensuring a defendant has not been wrongfully convicted. A petition of this kind brings to the Court’s attention, allegations of trial and appellate level errors which resulted in violations of one’s constitutional rights, which were not and/or could not be raised during the appellate process.
Consult an experienced Linden, NJ Post-Conviction Relief Lawyer
Our direct approach ensures that our clients’ rights are honored to the full extent of the law. To discuss your current situation and find the answers to your questions, contact us online or call our offices at (908) 481-4625 today to arrange a safe, secure, convenient, and confidential virtual consultation meeting via your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Attorney Edward S. Cooper will fight to protect your rights and is ready to arrange your consultation via Skype, WhatsApp video, FaceTime, Zoom, or Google Hangout to discuss how he can best support you and meet your legal needs.
What is a Post Conviction Relief Motion & When Must It Be Filed?
In a Post-Conviction Relief (PCR) motion, you are asserting that you were wrongfully convicted and that your constitutional rights were violated. This violation could have taken place at any part of the criminal proceeding against you (i.e., investigation, arrest, pretrial, plea hearing, trial as well as the sentencing). A petition for relief must be filed within five years from the date of conviction, and with the Criminal Division Manager (CDM) in the county in which the conviction took place; although time may be extended under certain exceptions.
What are The Four Grounds to Request a PCR Petition or Motion?
- Your New Jersey or U.S. Constitutional rights were denied
- The court lacked the jurisdiction to sentence you
- Your sentence was excessive & violated the law under which the sentence was imposed
- Any ground available as a basis for habeas corpus, statutory or common-law attack of the conviction
A constitutional violation may also include:
- Ineffective legal counsel
- Substantial conflict of interest by your legal counsel
- Prosecutorial misconduct
- Juror misconduct
- Failure by your criminal defense attorney to provide evidence that is considered exculpatory
A petition for post-conviction relief is not a substitute for the other methods of challenging a conviction, and cannot be filed while you are awaiting the outcome of the other methods.
How Does it Take to Grant Post Conviction Relief (PCR)?
Once a judge is assigned to a petition, they will render their decision within 60 days of its filing date or within 60 days of the conclusion of any hearings, the judge might order. Since the judge does not have to order a hearing, their decisions can be made based solely on the petition you submitted and the answer submitted by the prosecutor.
If the court moves forward to grant relief, one of the following may happen:
- A new trial is ordered
- The defendant is released from custody
- The sentence is modified
- The conviction is vacated or
- Any other actions as the court deems appropriate.
Contact an Experienced Union County Attorney To Protect Your Future
As such, it is critical that you retain an experienced and effective Linden, NJ attorney to help protect your rights and future, both financially and legally.