If you’re convicted of a crime in Pennsylvania, you have a limited time to file a challenge under the Pennsylvania Post-Conviction Relief Act (PCRA). But if you meet PCRA’s criteria, you could obtain a fair resolution, have your conviction overturned and/or your sentence reduced.
The PCRA is a Pennsylvania law that allows you to file a criminal appeal because of errors made that led to your conviction. To be eligible for this type of appeal, you must currently be serving a sentence or on probation or parole or awaiting execution for the crime. You must then be able to prove that an error led to your conviction, such as one or more of the following:
- Your counsel was ineffective and undermined your case;
- Your guilty plea was unlawfully induced and you are innocent;
- Your sentence is greater than the lawful maximum;
- Your rights were obstructed by the government;
- The constitution was violated; and/or
- New evidence, if introduced, would have changed the outcome.
Under PCRA, you have a year to file from the time the judgment becomes final. However, there are exceptions. You may have longer to file if you can prove there was governmental interference preventing you from filing or the discovery of new evidence or a new constitutional right that applies retroactively.
If an appeal meets the criteria of the PCRA, then this process is the sole method of getting relief following a conviction and sentencing. PCRA may be used even after a direct appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
If you are looking for an experienced criminal appeals attorney in Pennsylvania, it may help to talk to someone on our criminal defense team. Please reach out to us. Our firm is recognized as a leader in litigating criminal defense cases throughout Pennsylvania.