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Appealing the Denial of a Motion for Appropriate Relief

Filing a Motion for Appropriate Relief (MAR) is a valuable legal option for those who have been convicted of a crime in North Carolina. Unlike a criminal appeal, during a Motion for Appropriate Relief, the trial court can hold an evidentiary hearing. This makes filing a Motion for Appropriate Relief beneficial when claims depend on facts outside of the original trial court record. For example, a defendant can file a motion for ineffective assistance of counsel and bring evidence outside of the trial court record to support their case.

At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, we have represented many clients in the criminal appellate process. We have an in-depth understanding of North Carolina’s criminal appeals and use our knowledge to fight hard on behalf of our clients. Many of our clients understandably get their hopes up after filing a Motion for Appropriate Relief, but what happens when the court denies the Motion for Appropriate Relief? Is it possible to appeal a North Carolina Court’s ruling on the Motion? Contact us today so that we can review your case and advise you on how to best move forward.

Appealing the Denial of a Motion for Appropriate Relief From District Court

When a North Carolina district court denies a defendant’s Motion for Appropriate Relief, the defendant will not have a right to appeal. The defendant will be entitled to seek a trial de novo in North Carolina Superior Court. A trial de novo means that the appellate court will conduct a trial as If no trial had ever been held, essentially starting from scratch.

The State Can Appeal a Dismissal of Charges

The state has a right to appeal any decision on Motions for Appropriate Relief that is favorable to the defendant. When the district court does grant the Motion for Appropriate Relief, and the court dismisses the charges or vacates the conviction, the state might issue its appeal. The state must appeal the court’s dismissal of charges by filing a written motion within ten days. The State of North Carolina may also have a right to appeal the court’s acceptance of the Motion with a discretionary writ of certiorari to the superior court.

Appealing The Denial of a Motion for Appropriate Relief From Superior Court

What happens when a defendant seeks relief after filing a Motion for Appropriate Relief within 10 days of the judgment? In this circumstance, review by an appellate court can only take place when it is sought as part of a regular appeal. In other words, an appellate court judge will review the Motion for Appropriate Relief as part of the regular appeals process.

Appealing a Decision From The Court of Appeals

When the grounds alleged in the Motion for Appropriate Relief is also part of a normal appeal filed within ten days of the conviction, the denial of the Motion does not affect the defendant’s right to assert an error on appeal. Even if a court denies the Motion for Appropriate Relief, the defendant might be able to bring up the disputed issue as part of a normal appeal.

By statutory law, a Court of Appeals’ decision on a Motion for Appropriate Relief is final and not subject to any other appeal. However, the Supreme Court of North Carolina has held that appellate courts may be able to hear a petition for a writ of certiorari on a Motion for Appropriate Relief. A writ of certiorari is a request for a higher court to review the decision of the lower court.

The Importance of Hiring an Attorney

As you can see from the information above, appealing a Motion for Appropriate Relief can be challenging and complex. There are numerous complex rules related to Motions for Appropriate Relief. First, there are statutory time limits regarding how long the defendant has to file a Motion for Appropriate Relief. Additionally, there are different rules regarding appealing an adverse decision related to a Motion for Appropriate Relief.

If you have been convicted of a crime in North Carolina, you may be feeling hopeless and like you are out of options. As you face your criminal sentence, you may have significant fears about the future. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, we understand how difficult it is to face a criminal sentence. That is why we work so hard on behalf of our clients during the post-conviction process.

Contact Us Today

We understand the challenges that defendants after sentencing. After listening to our client’s situation and evaluating it for them, we will discuss any potential post-conviction relief that might apply to their situation. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation. For your convenience, we now offer phone and video conferencing. If you prefer an in-person consultation, we have three easy to reach locations in Uptown Charlotte, Monroe, and Mooresville.