AREAS OF PRACTICE

Post-Conviction Relief

You’ve been found guilty and your appeals have been denied, but you still have legal options for challenging your conviction. In Pennsylvania, a petition for post-conviction relief can be filed if your trial counsel was ineffective, if new evidence has been discovered, or if the appellate courts have issued a new decision that could affect your case. The process is complex, the time limitations are strict, and you are only guaranteed one chance at relief in state court.

You can also seek relief in federal court through an even more restrictive and limited process and only if you’ve followed the appropriate procedures in state court.
It is important that you have an experienced advocate on your side. The attorneys at Murphy, Butterfield & Holland have experience handling post-conviction petitions in state and federal court, both as former prosecutors and defense counsel.

Frequently Asked Questions

Generally, a Post-Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) petition must be filed within one year of the date the conviction becomes final. However, the finality date varies depending on whether and to what extent the defendant sought to challenge his conviction on appeal. There are also certain limited exceptions to the one-year rule. A safe rule is to contact experienced post-conviction counsel as soon as possible in order to fully preserve the defendant’s rights.
Generally, a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus must be filed within one year of the date the conviction becomes final. However, the finality date varies depending on whether and to what extent the defendant sought to challenge his conviction on appeal. Additionally, the deadline can be tolled, or delayed, while post-conviction proceedings are pending in state court. It is in the defendant’s best interests to contact experienced post-conviction counsel as soon as possible in order to fully preserve the defendant’s options.
You could receive a new trial, a new appeal, or, in some cases, the right to have old evidence tested for DNA.
ARD is a diversionary program for first-time offenders that keeps defendants out of jail and dramatically reduces license suspensions. Each county has different policies and procedures regarding eligibility for ARD and for the program itself. Upon successful completion of the program, the DUI will be expunged from your record.