Reversing A Criminal Conviction

In many cases, a criminal case ends with a conviction. In some cases, however, you may succeed in having your conviction overturned under some circumstances. Below are some of the possible paths for overturning a conviction.

An Appeal

A criminal appeal gives the court the opportunity to access whether the court made a mistake in convicting you of a crime or giving you a certain sentence. The criminal appeal is not a new trial and doesn't consider new evidence. Rather, you need to show the specific error that you want to use to overturn the conviction. Say you were convicted of an action that had been decriminalized a short while before your trial. You can use the decriminalization to appeal your conviction.

A Writ

A writ is an instruction from a higher court to a lower court directing the lower court to take a certain action. For example, if you have been convicted of a crime, you may file an application for a writ with a higher court. If the high court admits your application, it may issue a writ instructing the lower court to overturn your conviction.

Writs are extraordinary remedies; many states or even the federal government have abolished most forms of writs. In many cases, there are only a few specific circumstances in which writs apply. For example, a court may grant you a writ if your lawyer ignored a clear defense that would have exonerated you, such as an airtight alibi.

Withdrawal of Plea

Many criminal cases do not end in the trial; rather, the prosecution and the defendant reach an agreement via a process known as plea bargaining. In plea bargaining, the defendant and the prosecution agree to avoid trial so that the defendant can plead guilty to reduced charges and enjoy reduced penalties.

Plea bargaining involves the defendant making a guilty plea (even if a reduced one), which basically means conviction. Many jurisdictions give defendants a brief period in which they might withdraw their pleas. For example, you may be able to withdraw your plea if you made it under duress. There are only a few grounds under which criminal suspects can withdraw their pleas.


A pardon exempts you from crime even if you are already serving the sentence. If you are lucky, you may also have your conviction overturned via a criminal pardon.  State and federal laws determine who can grant pardons, and to which convicts. No one has a right to a pardon; the relief is solely at the discretion of the party with the authority to grant the pardon. You may apply for a pardon, but there is no guarantee that you will get it irrespective of your situation.

Talk to attorneys like those at The Rambarran Law Firm for more information.

About Me

The Internet Makes Learning about Law Easier than Ever

Unlike many children growing up today, I am old enough to remember what life was like before the internet became popular! Many years ago, I ended up in a messy legal situation that stemmed from a simple misunderstanding. It turned out that I actually did not break the law, and finding that out in court was a great relief! While I had a great lawyer who helped me during that time, reading some legal information for myself about the laws surrounding my incident could have greatly eased my worries during the stressful time. I have since dedicated myself to learning more about the law, so I never have to deal with a legal mess again. I thought I would make a blog to share some legal knowledge I have acquired along with some general legal tips. I hope I can help many people!



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