Austin Post-Conviction Relief Attorney

Lawyers Helping Clients Seek Post-Conviction Relief in Austin

Being convicted of a crime can be a devastating experience, leaving you scared, confused, and unsure of what your future has in store for you. On the other hand, a conviction does not mean the end of the road. In Texas, post-conviction relief options may be available for challenging a conviction, one of the most common being a direct appeal. Understanding the grounds for direct appeal and the importance of having a competent trial lawyer can significantly impact the success of your appellate process.

The experienced attorneys at Bennett & Bennett have abundant experience helping people pursue post-conviction relief options. We understand how devastating and hopeless it can feel to suffer a conviction. With help from our seasoned legal professionals, you can have a second chance at securing your rightful freedom and moving on with your life.

Understanding Grounds for Direct Appeal in Texas

In order to win an appeal, you and your attorney will need to identify a legal error the judge made during your trial that influenced the outcome of the case. With a couple of exceptions, the errors that may be able to reverse your case include:

  • Preserved errors - When appealing a conviction, it is important to understand the concept of preserved errors. These are legal mistakes that were properly objected to during the trial and can, as a result, be reviewed by the appellate court. Common examples may include improperly admitted evidence, flawed jury instructions, and prosecutorial misconduct.
  • Harmful errors - To win an appeal based on preserved errors, you must also prove that the error was harmful. A harmful error is one that affects the rights of the accused, potentially impacting the trial's outcome. The appellate court will consider whether the error likely swayed the jury's decision. If the error is deemed harmless, meaning it likely did not affect the verdict or sentence, the conviction will likely not be overturned, even if an error did occur.

The Role of Your Trial Lawyer in the Appellate Process

The performance of your trial lawyer can significantly influence the success of your direct appeal. One of the critical responsibilities of a trial lawyer is to "preserve error" by making timely objections and ensuring that these objections are on the record. This provides a basis for your appeals lawyer to argue that mistakes were made during the trial that warrant a reversal of your conviction. Without preserved errors, your grounds for an appeal can become severely limited.

A thoroughly constructed trial record forms the backbone of any successful appeal. When your trial lawyer efficiently challenges evidence, makes critical objections, and strategically questions witnesses, they are essentially building a strong appellate record while also advocating for a positive outcome to your case. Their actions will make it easier for your appeals lawyer to pinpoint significant errors that could result in a reversal.

The Connection Between Trial and Appellate Lawyers

The quality of your trial lawyer's performance is directly tied to your appeals lawyer's ability to mount a robust challenge to your conviction. In many cases, trial lawyers work closely with appellate lawyers to ensure every potential avenue for your appeal is explored. This collaboration can involve reviewing the trial transcripts, identifying preserved errors, and strategizing the best approach for arguing that these errors were harmful.

Considering an Appeal? An Appellate Attorney Can Help

If you are considering an appeal, the first step is to consult with an experienced appellate attorney. At Bennett & Bennett, our attorneys can assess the trial record for preserved errors and determine whether there are valid grounds for an appeal. Your attorney will guide you through the often-complicated appeals process, ensuring all necessary paperwork and deadlines are met promptly.

Contact an Austin Post-Conviction Relief Attorney

The journey to appealing your criminal conviction will likely involve various obstacles. However, you are not alone. The attorneys at Bennett & Bennett can help you every step of the way. Call 713-224-1747 or fill out an online contact form to schedule a confidential consultation, during which you will review your options with an attorney and decide how best to proceed.

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