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.
If you call the Myrtle Beach PCR attorneys on the Axelrod team for help overturning your conviction, we will:
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.
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.
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:
There are many different types of ineffective assistance of counsel, but some examples include:
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.
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.
You must file your PCR action within one year of:
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.