Charlotte Post-Conviction and Criminal Appeals Laws

A criminal conviction is not necessarily the end of your North Carolina criminal case. Defendants may have grounds for a criminal appeal. At Arnold Smith, PLLC, our Charlotte legal team can help after you have been convicted of a crime. Our post-conviction and appellate lawyers fight hard to bring justice to their clients after they have been convicted. Contact one of our Charlotte criminal defense attorneys as soon as possible to learn how we can fight for you after your criminal conviction.

Post-Conviction Relief in North Carolina State Courts

Under North Carolina law, courts can offer post-conviction relief to defendants after they are convicted. Qualified defendants can file an appeal, a Motion for Appropriate Relief, or even for an expungement. When a defendant fails to raise appropriate issues after a conviction, the defendant may waive the right to challenge the decision. You must hire an attorney as soon as possible after your conviction so you do not miss an opportunity to seek relief.

Motions for Appropriate Relief

A Motion for Appropriate Relief seeks to correct an alleged error in the trial court proceeding. Some Motions for Appropriate Relief must be filed within ten days of the defendant’s conviction. Motions for Appropriate Relief that allege a trial court error need to be filed within ten days. Other Motions for Appropriate Relief can be made any time after the criminal conviction. For example, when a court engaged in unconstitutional actions or the defendant had ineffective counsel, the defendant can file a motion outside of the ten days post-conviction.

When filing a Motion for Appropriate Relief, the defendant will need to present evidence at a hearing. The defendant must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the court engaged in an error or a constitutional violation. Judges can vacate criminal convictions or order a new trial when they deem it necessary to do so.

Appealing a Criminal Conviction in North Carolina

Defendants can appeal a decision made by a judge at the trial court level. The appellant must have legally valid grounds for the appeal. In other words, the trial court must have made a factual or legal mistake that resulted in the criminal conviction of the defendant. A defendant first needs to submit a notice of appeal.

The defendant can submit an appeal in writing after their criminal conviction. Or, the defendant, or his or her attorney, can orally give notice of appeal immediately after the conviction. The verbal notice must be given in open court. Written appeals must be filed within fourteen days of the date that the defendant received his sentencing.

The appeals process can last several months, or even years, in complicated appeals. The written appeal must mention any new evidence that has not been heard or any legal errors that happened during the trial court process.

The most important initial requirement for submitting appeals of criminal decisions is making sure that you meet all of the deadlines. The North Carolina Court of Appeals imposes strict deadlines and procedural requirements. To succeed in your criminal appeal, it is imperative you consult an attorney who can help.

Expungement of Your Criminal Record

In some cases, North Carolina judges will expunge or erase a defendant’s criminal charges. In an expungement, a judge erases all public records of a criminal charge and/or the defendant’s conviction itself. After an expungement, you will not need to state that you have been arrested, charged with a crime, or stood trial for the expunged offense. Defendants who meet the following requirements may request expungement of their criminal conviction:

  • The defendant meets the required waiting period for the crime at issue
  • The defendant provides proof that he or she paid all court-ordered costs
  • The defendant is not on probation or parole anywhere
  • The defendant has no open criminal cases
  • The defendant has no pending criminal charges

Defendants who are found not guilty of a crime will be eligible for expungement immediately. If you have been found guilty, the waiting period for the expungement depends on the specific criminal charges and your age.

Contact Us Today

If you have been convicted of a crime in North Carolina, you may have a legal option to appeal the conviction. Contact the criminal appeals lawyers at Arnold Smith, PLLC, as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation. We are here to help defend your rights.

For your convenience and safety, we now offer phone and video conferencing. If you person an in-person consultation, we have three easy to reach locations in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville, and Monroe. Contact us today at 704-370-2828