If you have a federal conviction in your past, you know that there are some challenges in trying to avoid the consequences of a criminal record. Issues may arise when with an employment background check or with North Carolina professional licenses. You may be denied the opportunity to take out student loans and you may not be able to legally possess a firearm, among other complications.
Fortunately, there are options for federal post-conviction relief that can eliminate or reduce the problems you face: Under U.S. law, you may be able to file a motion to contest the legality of your conviction and/or sentence. Therefore, because the process is extremely complex and mistakes can be costly.
Furthermore, hiring the right attorney to represent your interests is critical. Some general information on how you can get federal post-conviction relief is also helpful.
You Must Qualify Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255
Not all individuals with a federal conviction are eligible for this remedy. You must be “in custody” as defined by the law, which means:
- You are either in prison, jail, or other situation of incarceration; or,
- Your personal liberties are somehow restricted as part of the sentence you received for your conviction, such as probation, supervised release, out on bail, or on parole.
Note that you must qualify under the custody element at the time you file your petition, so you are not eligible for this type of post-conviction relief if you have already served the entirety of your sentence. In addition, if your sentence only involved a fine, this remedy is not available.
Your Petition Must Raise Proper Issues
Federal post-conviction relief is not intended to re-visit issues raised on appeal. Other than very limited exceptions, you are not allowed to present new evidence and cannot bring witnesses in to testify. There are only four grounds upon which to base your argument:
- Your sentence violates U.S. Constitutional or statutory law;
- The court did not have jurisdiction to issue your sentence;
- Your sentence exceeds the maximum penalty allowed by law; OR,
- There are grounds for a collateral attack on your sentence,
You Must Comply with Time Limitations
You must file your petition for federal post-conviction relief within one year of the events specified in the statute. To clarify, this will be one year after the final judgment on your conviction.
Trust a North Carolina Federal Post Conviction Relief Lawyer with Your Case
You can see that the laws and procedural rules involved with federal post-conviction relief are very complicated, so you should rely on an experienced attorney to handle your case. Without a legal background, you are at a disadvantage in fighting for your rights. At Tarlton | Polk, our lawyers have extensive knowledge of federal post-conviction remedies, including the strict eligibility rules, grounds for relief, and petition requirements. If you would like to hear more about your options, please contact our office in Raleigh, NC. We can schedule a confidential consultation to review your circumstances.