Tampa Appeals & Post-Conviction Relief Lawyer
Experienced Attorney Handling Trials, Appeals and Related Matters In Florida Criminal Courts
The Faulkner Law Group in Tampa helps individuals in Hillsborough, Pinellas and surrounding counties deal with a criminal conviction through appeals and other forms of post-conviction relief, including sentence modifications and sealing and expunction of criminal records. A conviction does not have to mean the end of the story; you may have appeals and other avenues that are worth fighting for. If you are looking at ways to fight or handle a conviction, or if your probation is being revoked in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk or Pasco County, the Faulkner Law Group is your choice for practical advice and effective representation.
Appeals of Florida Criminal Convictions
If you’ve been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense in Florida, you have the right to appeal your conviction as a matter of law. You might even have the right to appeal a guilty plea or no contest plea if you reserved your right to appeal. However, appealing a conviction does not mean you get to try your case again in another court. Instead, you need grounds to appeal by showing that some prejudicial error was made that affected the outcome of your trial. The issue must have been properly preserved for appeal through a timely objection that the judge ruled on at trial. With over 25 years of experience trying Florida criminal law cases, Tampa attorney David Faulkner is sure to raise timely objections and properly preserve issues for appeal, as necessary. It’s also possible to appeal convictions that involved a “fundamental error” or a violation of constitutional rights such as illegal search and seizure or failure to give Miranda warnings.
If you were represented by another lawyer or law firm at trial, the Faulkner Law Group can review the record and trial transcript for appealable errors such as:
- Mistakes of law
- Verdicts not supported by the weight of the evidence
- Inadmissible evidence
- Improper jury instructions
- Juror misconduct
- Judicial abuse of discretion
In addition to appeals of right, our firm is also equipped to handle Habeas Corpus petitions and collateral appeals based on newly discovered evidence, ineffective assistance of counsel or other grounds. Courts can impose sanctions for motions filed frivolously or recklessly, and the state need only meet a relatively low standard of proof to impose sanctions for motion errors. Be sure to contact qualified and experienced legal defense counsel to help you with any appeal or motion for post-conviction relief.
Judges and court staff are human, and they make mistakes. Sometimes, these mistakes result in an illegal or incorrect sentence being imposed. You may never know this has happened to you unless you have a detail-oriented, experienced criminal law attorney carefully reviewing your sentence. The Faulkner Law Group in Tampa can help get a sentence corrected, reduced or modified in the following situations:
- Illegal sentence imposed
- The sentence was too high
- Miscalculations on the sentencing scoresheet
- Jail credits were misapplied
- Erroneous designation as a sexual predator
- Plea was involuntary
The Faulkner Law Group will move to set aside, vacate or correct a sentence that violated the law or constitution, exceeded the maximum sentence allowed, or was based on an involuntary plea or lack of jurisdiction. Different Florida statutes apply to different types of sentence modifications, and each statute has its own set of strict procedures and timelines, so it’s essential to retain a qualified and knowledgeable attorney to help you with your motion. Also, the court may decide the motion in a hearing or based on the written motion itself, so be sure and hire an experienced trial and appellate lawyer skilled in the courtroom as well as motion practice.
Long after you’ve served your sentence, your criminal record can continue to haunt you, keeping you from getting the job or professional license you want, or hurting you when you try to get credit or find a place to live. Florida law offers procedures to seal or expunge criminal records in certain instances, keeping those records from public view and allowing you to behave as if those records never existed.
The criteria for getting a criminal conviction sealed or expunged are strict, and ultimately the discretion whether to grant sealing or expunction lies with the judge. Tampa criminal defense lawyer David Faulkner is well-versed in the law and procedures surrounding motions to seal or expunge records, both from his time as an Assistant State Attorney and as a criminal law attorney helping people charged with criminal offenses in Florida. The Faulkner Law Group is available to advise you on your eligibility to have your record sealed or expunged and to represent you in the process where applicable.
Violation of Probation
Probation is often an excellent result for a person otherwise facing jail or prison time for a serious criminal offense. Probation avoids jail and lets you go free, subject to the conditions imposed on your probation. Once your probation is over (which can potentially be terminated early after completing 50% of your time on probation), then you are free to come and go as you please.
Unfortunately, the terms of probation are often strict, and violating any condition of probation can cause the court to revoke your probation and immediately impose a prison sentence, without the benefit and protection afforded in a criminal trial. Instead, the prosecutor is subject to a much lower burden of proof and can more easily prove its case against you. You can violate your probation by committing a new criminal offense or merely by technically violating some condition of your probation, such as missing a meeting with your probation officer, staying out past curfew, or failing to pay a fine or perform community service as required by the court.
With the lower standard of proof in VOP cases, your probation can be revoked based on an allegation of committing a new law violation even if a jury finds you not guilty of committing the offense. Be sure to hire qualified and experienced legal representation if your probation is being revoked.
Get Help with Appeals and Post-Conviction in Tampa
For sound legal advice and professional assistance in an appeal or other post-conviction matter in Florida, contact the Faulkner Law Group at 813-544-3919 for a free consultation with a dedicated and experienced Tampa criminal lawyer.