What Are Your Rights and Options After a Criminal Conviction?

If you’re placed under arrest and charged with a crime in the Kingston area or anywhere in the State of Tennessee, contact a at once for the defense representation and legal advice you will need.

However, if the state’s evidence against you is conclusive and if your conviction is inevitable, your defense lawyer may recommend accepting a plea bargain and pleading guilty – usually to a lesser charge – in return for reduced or alternative sentencing.

Whether you accept a plea bargain or a jury finds you guilty as charged, you’ll be convicted, and you’ll have a criminal record that may follow you for years. However, after a conviction, several options may be available to help you move forward positively and constructively with your life.

How Do You Appeal a Criminal Conviction?

If you file an appeal and it is successful, your conviction will be reversed and removed from your record. You’ll need to ask a who has substantial experience in the appellate courts to file your appeal and argue for a reversal of your conviction.

To appeal a criminal conviction in Tennessee, you must meet several strict procedural requirements and deadlines. However, you cannot file an appeal unless you can present the appellate court with at least one valid reason for overturning your conviction.

On What Grounds May a Conviction Be Appealed?

Mere disagreement or dissatisfaction with a verdict does not provide you with grounds to appeal a criminal conviction in Tennessee. Instead, you and your defense attorney must demonstrate to the appellate court that at least one of these judicial mistakes has been made:

  1. The judge in your case allowed evidence that should have been excluded.
  2.  Evidence that should have been offered was excluded by mistake.
  3.  The judge made a legal or procedural mistake or gave the jury incorrect instructions.
  4.  The evidence in support of your conviction was insufficient.
  5.  Your defense attorney offered you ineffective assistance of counsel.

How Do the Appellate Courts Work?

In an appellate court, cases are decided by a panel of three judges rather than a judge and jury. There are no jurors or witnesses. The judges review the written arguments and trial transcripts. Defendants may appeal convictions with a direct appeal or with a post-conviction petition:

  1.  With a direct appeal, the defendant challenges a criminal conviction when his or her attorney files a brief with the Court of Criminal Appeals. That brief must identify the judicial mistakes that allegedly occurred at the defendant’s trial or sentencing hearing.
  2.  When a defendant does not file a direct appeal, there is a one-year deadline for filing a post-conviction petition with the trial court. If a defendant files a direct appeal, he or she may file a post-conviction petition within one year of losing that appeal.

However, post-conviction petitions are limited exclusively to claims of constitutional errors that occurred in the trial or sentencing hearing. The criminal appeal process in Tennessee is lengthy and complicated, so it must be handled by an experienced Tennessee criminal defense lawyer.

Can Criminal Convictions Be Expunged in Tennessee?

Certain criminal convictions cannot be expunged in this state. Violent felonies, sex crimes, and particular DUI convictions do not qualify for expungement, but non-violent felony convictions, misdemeanor convictions, and many drug crime convictions may be eligible.

In Tennessee, the nature of a criminal conviction is one factor that determines if the conviction may be expunged. Other factors that are considered include the amount of time since the crime took place and whether the defendant has been charged with other, more recent offenses.

Expungement of a conviction requires the completion of the sentence and all sentencing requirements. To have a conviction expunged, schedule a meeting with a Kingston criminal defense attorney who will explain the process and prepare the legal paperwork on your behalf.

What Rehabilitation Opportunities May Be Available After a Conviction?

Several rehabilitation and treatment programs are offered to those who have committed drug- or alcohol-related crimes. For first-time offenders charged with minor crimes, completing a pre-trial or judicial diversion program is sometimes a way for qualified defendants to avoid a conviction.

However, even if you receive a conviction, you may still be eligible for a rehabilitation program. In fact, many of the defendants who are convicted of non-violent felony drug offenses in Tennessee may qualify for alternative sentencing that includes rehabilitation.

The offenders who are eligible for rehabilitation programs are typically those who have been convicted without enhancement penalties (no minors or firearms, for example, were involved in the crime) and who have no more than two previous criminal convictions.

Your defense attorney will use every available legal tool to persuade the court to give you alternative sentencing, but alternative sentencing may not be offered to offenders who have failed previous rehabilitation efforts or to those who have a history of clear disregard for the law.

When Should You Contact a Lawyer?

When you’ve been charged with a crime, it is imperative to contact a Kingston criminal defense lawyer immediately. If you are innocent, your defense lawyer will fight to have the charge dropped, to have the case dismissed, or to win a not guilty verdict from a trial jury.

However, if the state’s evidence of your guilt is irrefutable, your attorney will immediately begin negotiating for alternative or reduced sentencing. If you receive a conviction, your attorney can file an appeal for you or keep working to enter you into a rehabilitation program.

To have a criminal conviction expunged, contact a defense lawyer after you’ve successfully completed all of the terms and conditions of your sentence – or even before you’ve completed the sentence – to learn more about expungement and/or begin the expungement process.

Davis Law Firm Will Handle Your Appeal, Expungement, or Rehabilitation Request

In Kingston and across the State of Tennessee, criminal defense lawyer Tyler Davis ensures that his clients’ rights are honored and protected during the legal process and even after a conviction.

Tyler Davis is an award-winning criminal defense attorney. He leads an experienced team of legal professionals who will handle every aspect of your case, from your arraignment to your acquittal, appeal, or the expungement of your conviction.

If you are charged with a crime now or in the future, or if you need to discuss any aspect of your case, you can schedule an initial case evaluation – without any cost or obligation – by calling the offices of Davis Law Firm at 865-830-6286.