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Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA)

Assisting individuals wrongly convicted of a crime in Philadelphia
An experienced criminal appeals attorney knows there are different types of appeals possible following a conviction. Pennsylvania state law and federal laws both give a convicted defendant the right to file appeals based on a variety of reasons. One such method of appeal is to file a petition under the Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA).1 This type of appeal generally occurs after an initial appeal with the Pennsylvania courts is not successful. However, the PCRA petition is completely separate from a direct appeals with its own rules, deadlines, and regulations.

What is PCRA?

The Act provides a method for individuals who were wrongfully convicted of a crime or who believe that their sentence is unlawful to pursue collateral relief. You are eligible to file a PCRA petition if you have been convicted of a criminal offense and you are on probation or parole, you are currently serving a prison sentence, or you have received a death sentence. In order to obtain post-conviction relief, you must provide sufficient information that one of the following occurred in your criminal case:

  • Your Constitutional rights were violated in such a manner that no reliable verdict could have resulted.

  • You received ineffective assistance of counsel that prevented a reliable verdict from occurring.

  • You were unlawfully induced or coerced into pleading guilty when you were actually innocent.

  • Your right to direct appeal on a certain issue was unlawfully obstructed by a government official.

  • Exculpatory evidence2 that was not available at trial is now available and would likely
    change the result of your case.

  • You received a sentence that was improper and unlawful for your offense (i.e., above the statutory maximum).

  • The criminal court that entered your conviction did not have proper jurisdiction to do so.

As you can see, an appeal under the PCRA can have many complex legal issues, so it is always highly important to have an attorney handling your appeal who has a thorough understanding of Pennsylvania criminal appeals laws. Additionally, you only have one year (under most circumstances) to file a PCRA petition, so you do not want to delay in discussing your case with a criminal appeals lawyer as soon as possible.

Contact an experienced criminal appeals attorney for assistance today

If you have been convicted of a crime, you have a number of options on the appellate level. Post-conviction relief is only one method of attempting to fight your wrongful conviction. Discussing your case with an experienced criminal appeals lawyer in Philadelphia can help you explore your options and put together a quality, well-argued appeal for the best possible chance at having your conviction overturned. Please do not hesitate to contact the Zeiger Law Firm at (215) 825-5183 to discuss your case today.

1http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/LI/consCheck.cfm?txtType=HTM&ttl=42&div=0&chpt=95
2http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exculpatory_evidence

Our Clients

philadelphia criminal appeals

Contact us now for a free consultation with a Pennsylvania Criminal Appeals Attorney and discuss your criminal appeal. Whether the prosecution is in Philadelphia, State College, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Reading, Scranton, Harrisburg, Erie or any community in Pennsylvania, we can help.

We file appeals throughout Pennsylvania for people who were convicted in the smallest counties to the largest metropolitan areas. Our attorneys defend people’s rights in Common Pleas Courts throughout Pennsylvania, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals of the United States of America.

Whether your case is ripe for a direct appeal on you wish to file an appeal under the Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA), our experienced lawyers are ready to help you and your family today.

Time after time we get phone calls and emails from people who are unhappy with the system, unhappy with the results of their trial, and unhappy with the way the system treated them through the trial and sentencing process.

Once prospective clients meet with us, they become our clients for years to come because we believe that justice is an essential human value, and we never stop fighting for our clients, even when other lawyers tell people to give up.