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Motions for Appropriate Relief FAQ

Defendants who have been convicted in a North Carolina criminal court have a right to file a Motion for Appropriate Relief. If you have been convicted of a crime, you might be worried that there is nothing left you can do but accept your conviction. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, we understand how discouraging it is to receive a criminal conviction. You might be feeling hopeless about your conviction; however, with the right legal help, you do have hope.

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Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC as soon as possible to learn about your post-conviction options in North Carolina. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be able to file an appeal or a Motion for Appropriate Relief. Time is of the essence, however. You do not want to lose your ability to file a Motion for Appropriate Relief. The sooner you schedule your initial consultation, the better. To learn more about Motions for Appropriate Relief, we have answered a series of frequently asked questions.

What is a Motion for Appropriate Relief?

Most people have heard of appeals of criminal convictions. Yet many people are not familiar with Motions for Appropriate Relief. Motions for Appropriate Relief are motions that seek to correct an alleged error in the trial court proceedings that led to the defendant’s conviction. A Motions for Appropriate Relief asks the court for relief from a conviction that was decided in error.

What Types of Relief are Available for Motions for Appropriate Relief?

Courts have the discretion to apply the type of relief they see fit when a defendant has been convicted in error. When necessary, North Carolina courts have the authority to order a new trial or to vacate the conviction.

What is the Timeline for Filing a Motion for Appropriate Relief?

North Carolina law imposes statutory time limits on Motions for Appropriate Relief. Defendants must file a Motions for Appropriate Relief within the time limits provided under the law. Defendants must file a Motion for Appropriate Relief under G.S. 15A-1414 within 10 days of the entry of judgment. This time limit applies even when the court has entered a notice of appeal.

These types of Motions for Appropriate Relief allege that an error occurred during the criminal trial. Motions for Appropriate Relief filed under G.S. 15A-1415 can be filed at any time after the verdict. The one exception to this rule involves capital criminal cases that do not have any outer time limit.

What Errors can the Defendant Allege in a G.S. 15A-1414 Motion?

In a G.S. 15A-1414 Motion for Appropriate Relief, the defendant must allege that the court that convicted the defendant engaged in an error. Errors can include one or more of the following:

  • Ineffective assistance of counsel
  • The court’s erroneous failure to dismiss the criminal charges
  • Jury instructions that were erroneously given
  • Erroneous court rulings on the matter of law
  • A jail sentence that is not supported by the evidence
  • Any other error that prevented the defendant from receiving a fair and impartial trial
What Errors can the Defendant Allege in a G.S. 15A-1415 Motion?

However, the defendant may only seek relief based on grounds specified in the relevant North Carolina law, including the following:

  • Lack of jurisdiction of the trial court
  • A significant change in the law
  • The criminal conviction violated the constitution
  • The acts charged did not violate a state criminal law
  • Ineffective assistance of counsel
What Happens When New Evidence Surfaces That Could Help the Defendant?

Defendants have a right to file Motions for Appropriate Relief when new evidence surfaces. When newly discovered evidence surfaces that show the defendant’s innocence, the defendant can appeal to the court for relief through a Motion for Appropriate Relief. The defendant must file a Motion for Appropriate relief based on newly discovered evidence within a reasonable time of the discovery of the helpful evidence.

Contact Us Today

We understand that many people are not familiar with Motions for Appropriate Relief. Motions for Appropriate Relief are incredibly helpful tools for defendants who have been convicted of a crime. If you have been convicted of a crime, our law firm can help. After evaluating the facts of your case, we can advise you as to whether an appeal or Motion for Appropriate Relief can help you. Contact our Charlotte criminal defense law firm as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation. For your convenience and safety, 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.