North Carolina’s Motions for Appropriate Relief Statute

Motions for Appropriate Relief in North Carolina allow defendants to seek relief from the court after a guilty verdict. Defendants can raise errors that the lower court made when convicting them of a crime. If the court agrees that errors were made in the initial trial, they may reverse the conviction or order a new trial. Additionally, Motions for Appropriate Relief are different from traditional appeals of conviction. A Motion for Appropriate Relief provides an opportunity for an evidentiary hearing, while a traditional appeal does not.

North Carolina recognizes two different types of Motions for Appropriate Relief: a motion that must be filed within ten days of conviction, and another that may be filed at any time post-conviction. These two different types of motions are authorized by statutes in North Carolina’s criminal code. One of the attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, can review your case and see if you qualify for either of these motions.

If you have been convicted of a crime and would like to discuss your options, contact one of our criminal defense attorneys at 704-370-2828. We are here to help defend your freedom. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.

North Carolina’s Motion for Appropriate Relief Statute

Motion for Appropriate Relief is a statutorily created way for a defendant to challenge a criminal conviction and sentence. A defendant can file a Motion for Appropriate Relief before, during, or after making a direct appeal of his or her conviction. The statute related to Motions for Appropriate Relief states that there are some restrictions regarding the types of claims that the defendant can raise after a certain date.

Claims the Defendant Must Make Within Ten Days of the Judgment

The 15A-1414 statute requires a defendant to submit certain Motions for Appropriate Relief within 10 days of the judgment. Defendants can make these types of Motions for Appropriate Relief can be made or acted upon whether or not the defendant has submitted a notice of appeal. In other words, the defendant can file this type of Motion regardless if he or she is appealing the decision.

The important thing to note with 15A-1414 motions is that the defendant can bring them for any error made during the criminal court process. The defendant can bring up any error that caused him or her to not have a fair and impartial trial in the motion. The following claims must be asserted within ten days of the judgment entry:

  • A motion asserting “any error committed during or prior to the trial”
  • Any error of law
  • An error of law in which the court failed to dismiss the charge before trial when the court should have dismissed the claim
  • The ruling of the court was contrary to the law regarding motions made during or before the criminal trial
  • Errors regarding the admission of evidence that harmed the defendant
  • Errors regarding evidence excluded from the evidence that could have helped the defendant
  • Errors in jury instructions
  • A verdict that is contrary to the whole weight of the evidence
  • An error that caused the defendant to not receive an impartial or fair trial
  • The defendant’s sentence is not supported by evidence introduced at trial
Claims That a Defendant Can Make Any Time Post-Judgment

The G.S. 15A-1415 statute provides that some types of claims can be asserted by the defendant more than ten days after the verdict. Only defendants who are not charged with a capital offense can bring this type of Motion for Appropriate Relief. Defendants may raise all of the following claims more than ten days after the judgment entry:

  • The defendant’s act was not a violation of law
  • The trial court lacked jurisdiction
  • Unconstitutional conviction
  • Unconstitutional statute
  • The defendant was engaged in constitutionally protected conduct
  • A retroactive change in the law has taken place since the defendant’ conviction
  • The defendant’s sentence was unauthorized, illegal, or invalid
  • The defendant’s sentence was fully served
  • Newly discovered evidence has emerged
  • The defendant who was charged with prostitution was a victim of human trafficking, etc.

When a defendant receives a conviction of a capital crime, they must file a postconviction motion for appropriate relief within 120 days of another specified type of legal action. If you have been charged with a serious capital crime, it is essential to speak with a criminal appeals attorney as soon as possible. You will need to develop an appellate strategy quickly, so you do not miss any filing deadlines for important motions.

The Court’s Authority in Deciding a Motion for Appropriate Judgment

The purpose of a Motion for Appropriate Relief is to correct an error made during the initial trial that resulted in the defendant’s conviction. If a judge decides that an error was committed in the initial trial, they may reverse the guilty verdict or order a new trial.

Contact Our Post-Conviction Legal Team

If you have been convicted of a crime, and believe an error was committed, you may have a right to file a Motion for Appropriate Judgment. Contact our law firm as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation. For your convenience and safety, we offer video and phone conferencing. If you prefer an in-person consultation, we have three easy to reach offices in Uptown Charlotte, Monroe, and Mooresville.