What Are My Options If I Get Convicted in Federal Court?

Being found guilty in federal court can be a devastating experience and many people believe that a conviction is the end of the legal process. However, the first step of responding to a conviction is to file an appeal.

Appellate courts determine if procedural errors were made during the course of the original trial and decide whether to overturn a conviction. Furthermore, there are also other post-conviction decision options besides appeals.

The following are the common options after getting convicted in federal court:

  • Appeal – As we mentioned before, appealing the lower court's decision is often the first step toward reversing the conviction. In order to obtain an appeal, the lower court must have made a legal error. Common errors include Fourth Amendment violations, improperly obtained evidence used to obtain conviction, ineffective counsel, insufficient weight of evidence, and abuse of discretion by the judge.
  • Habeas corpus – Writs of habeas corpus are filed when individuals believe they were wrongfully convicted or improperly sentenced due to the inadequate actions by the trial judge, prosecution, law enforcement, or the defense. This type of petition is lengthy, and the review process is generally strict and arduous. However, a successful motion can lead to a reduction or dismissal of a criminal sentence.
  • Sentence modifications – If a legal error was made during sentencing, the sentence fails to adhere to federal guidelines, the convicted person is now helping prosecutors in another case, or the convicted person has a terminal illness making him/her unable to serve the sentence, then sentence modification may occur following conviction.
  • Pardon – A federal pardon is granted by the U.S. president and completely dismisses the punishment for a federal crime. When it comes to state crimes, governors have the power to pardon.

If you or a loved one is interested in filing an appeal in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York, contact Brad Bailey Law today at (617) 500-0252 and request a free consultation. Our firm has over 37 years of trial-tested experience handling cases in federal court and appellate court.

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