What is a Writ of Habeas Corpus?

Historically, habeas corpus referred to a constitutional remedy designed to prevent the government from illegally detaining citizens. Now, however, habeas corpus refers to the legal process by which an individual who has been convicted of a crime attempt to overturn his or her conviction based on a state or federal constitutional violation. There is no requirement that the individual be incarcerated; the individual may be on probation or simply challenging a final conviction due to its ability to enhance sentences for further convictions.

What is a Writ of Habeas Corpus?

There are no deadlines for filing an application for a writ of habeas corpus in state court, unlike a direct appeal, which must be filed within 30 days of an individual’s sentencing order. However, if you are filing for habeas corpus in federal court, you must file the application in the proper U.S. District Court within one year of your conviction date. Unlike a direct appeal, a court can consider information that is not a part of the original court records relating to the conviction. As a result, newly discovered evidence often is the basis of an application for writ of habeas corpus.

One of the most common reasons for seeking a writ of habeas corpus is ineffective assistance of counsel. The allegations in this type of claim usually involve the defense attorney’s failure to take some action, properly advise his or her client of certain consequences of a plea bargain, or sufficiently investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident that led to the criminal conviction.

Another common basis for a writ of habeas corpus is an involuntary plea. In this situation, an individual might allege that he or she only signed a plea agreement because the defense lawyer indicated that he or she would receive probation, but the judge ordered a prison sentence instead.

The criminal defense lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the legal defense of countless individuals who are facing criminal charges. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf in order to get the best outcome possible in your case. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our criminal defense attorneys today.

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