Post-Conviction Relief: PCR Lawyers in Myrtle Beach, SC
What can the Myrtle Beach PCR attorneys on the Axelrod team do for you?
If you were convicted at trial, you can file a direct appeal and ask a higher court to overturn your conviction. But a direct appeal only addresses questions of legal errors made by the judge at your trial or plea hearing.
If you lose your direct appeal, or if you do not have grounds for a direct appeal, your PCR lawyer can then file a post-conviction relief action that asks the court to overturn your conviction because of mistakes made by your trial attorney, plea attorney, or appeals attorney.
Why Should I Call the Myrtle Beach PCR Lawyers at Axelrod and Associates?
If you call the Myrtle Beach PCR attorneys on the Axelrod team for help overturning your conviction, we will:
- Meet with you to discuss your case and determine whether our firm is the right fit for you,
- Obtain your trial or plea hearing transcripts, your trial or plea attorney’s file, the evidence that was used against you, and any appellate briefs and appellate opinions from your direct appeals,
- Investigate your case, sometimes using a private investigator when we need to interview witnesses or when there is a possibility that new evidence may be uncovered that you were unaware of at the time of your trial,
- Identify and research all potential grounds for post-conviction relief in your case,
- File your PCR petition for you, or file an amended PCR petition if you have already filed your petition and we identify additional grounds for PCR,
- Present your case to the PCR court and ask the court to order a new trial, and
- File an appeal from the PCR court when necessary or defend an appeal filed by the State.
Our post-conviction relief lawyers have the experience you need to maximize your chances of a successful PCR action – including criminal trial practice, criminal appeals, post-conviction relief actions, and oral argument before SC’s appellate courts.
When Can You File a PCR Action in SC?
Following a conviction at trial or, sometimes, a guilty plea, you can file a direct appeal to the SC Court of Appeals.
If your direct appeal is denied or if you do not have grounds for a direct appeal, you can then file a PCR action asking the court to reverse your conviction and order a new trial based on ineffective assistance of counsel – mistakes made by your trial attorney or your appeals lawyer that could have affected the outcome of your case.
What are Grounds for PCR in SC?
Post-conviction relief claims can be based on ineffective assistance of counsel, prosecutorial misconduct, or constitutional violations, but most successful claims are based on ineffective assistance of counsel.
To win your PCR case based on ineffective assistance of counsel, you must prove two things:
- That your trial attorney, plea attorney, or appeals attorney provided ineffective assistance of counsel, and
- Prejudice – there must be a substantial likelihood that the mistakes would have affected the outcome of the trial.
There are many different types of ineffective assistance of counsel, but some examples include:
- Your trial attorney failed to call an essential witness, like an alibi witness or an expert witness (your PCR attorney will need to call the witness at your PCR hearing to establish what their testimony would have been at trial and that it would have affected the outcome at trial),
- Your prosecutor withheld exculpatory information until after your trial, and it would have affected the outcome of the trial if it had been disclosed (prosecutorial misconduct),
- Your trial attorney failed to make a motion to suppress key evidence and there is a substantial likelihood that the motion would have been successful,
- Your plea attorney failed to communicate a plea offer to you and you were forced to accept a harsher result because the deadline to accept the plea offer had passed,
- Your plea attorney or the court gave you incorrect information about collateral consequences like immigration consequences or parole eligibility, or your plea attorney failed to inform you of negative immigration consequences that would result from your plea,
- Your trial attorney failed to object to inadmissible, prejudicial, or inflammatory witness testimony or remarks by the prosecutor, or
- Your appeals attorney failed to include grounds for appeal and there is a substantial likelihood they would have been successful.
FAQ for PCR Attorneys in Myrtle Beach
If you have been convicted of a crime in SC’s criminal courts, you may have questions about how the post-conviction relief (PCR) process works. Our intent is to provide general information here, and you should contact your SC PCR lawyer on the Axelrod team immediately for answers and advice that is specific to your case.
Should I Hire a New Attorney for My PCR?
In most cases, you will need a new attorney for your PCR proceedings.
Because most PCR claims are based on ineffective assistance of counsel on the part of your trial lawyer or appeals attorney, there is an inherent conflict in continued representation by the same attorney.
What is the Statute of Limitations for a PCR Action in SC?
You must file your PCR action within one year of:
- Your conviction,
- The entry of the appellate court’s decision in your case, or
- The discovery of new evidence that could not reasonably have been discovered at the time of trial.
Can I Get an Appointed PCR Lawyer?
If you file a PCR petition, the court will appoint an attorney to represent you – the PCR attorney might be selected from the "civil appointment list" (these are often civil practitioners who do not necessarily practice criminal law) or the PCR attorney might be a "contract PCR lawyer" who is given a large number of PCR cases for a flat fee per case.
If you can retain an experienced PCR attorney, you should do so. Why?
Your appointed PCR attorney may or may not be a great attorney who truly cares about you and your case. Their resources and time, however, may be limited.
Your retained PCR lawyer will have more time to spend on your case (the flat fees paid to appointed PCR counsel are often just enough to cover a visit to you and an appearance in court), and, if you are able to pay, they will have access to more resources like private investigators and expert witnesses when needed.
Can I Appeal from a PCR Hearing?
Either side can file an appeal from your PCR hearing – if you win, the State can appeal. If you lose, you can appeal.
In either case, the appeal is filed directly in the SC Supreme Court (although, in some cases, the SC Supreme Court will send your case to the SC Court of Appeals first).
What Happens if I Win My PCR Hearing?
If you win your PCR hearing, the most common result is a new trial – your case goes back to the solicitor’s office for a new prosecution, and you are facing a new trial if the prosecutor does not dismiss the case or make a new plea offer that you accept.
In some cases, your PCR is based only on your sentence, which means your case will be sent back to the trial court, not for a new trial but for a new sentencing hearing.
What’s Next if I Lose My PCR Hearing?
If you lose your PCR hearing, you may have grounds for an appeal to the SC Supreme Court. If you lose in the SC Supreme Court, this is the end of the road for many PCR applicants.
In some cases, however, you may be able to ask the US Supreme Court to hear your case, or you may have grounds for a federal habeas petition if all state-law remedies have been exhausted and your conviction violated clearly established federal law.
Can I File a Second PCR Petition?
In most cases, you cannot file more than one PCR petition. There are some exceptions, such as when you discover new evidence that could not reasonably have been discovered at the time of your trial or prior PCR proceedings.
If you have been convicted of a crime and believe you have grounds for post-conviction relief (PCR), you should immediately contact the Myrtle Beach post-conviction relief attorneys at Axelrod and Associates for a free consultation to find out how we can help.