Post Conviction Relief Options: What Are My Options After a Verdict

Police officer interrogating criminal in handcuffs at desk indoors

So you’ve just been arrested and charged with a crime, now what?

There are several directions that your case could go.

This all depends on the severity of the charges against you and the penalties associated with the charges.

When you are charged with a serious crime, the first thing you need to do is hire an experienced defense team to handle the charges. Your attorneys will go over all the options available to you. This can include having the charges reduced or even dismissed if there is not enough evidence for the prosecution case.

Your lawyers will discuss all the options with you.

You can also accept a plea bargain and plea to the charges for lesser penalties. Plea bargains usually are worked out between the prosecution and the defense while preparing for trial.

If your case goes to trial, whether by a jury or a judge, there will be a verdict.

In a jury trial, there are several outcomes available for the defendant.

  1. A guilty verdict: the defendant is found guilty of some or all of the charges against them. Note the jury can find a person guilty on one charge and innocent on others.
  2. A hung jury: This is when the jury can’t come to a unanimous verdict about guilt or innocence. In this case, the defendant might be tried again at another time with another jury or the case will be dropped with the option of the prosecution of bringing charges against the defendant at a later time.
  3. Acquittal: The jury finds the defendant not guilty of the charges against them

If someone is acquitted of a crime you will not have any record of the conviction or face any additional penalties.

Post Conviction Options

Being acquitted of a criminal charge means that you are found not guilty of the charges against you.

You will have no criminal record of the charges or face any additional penalties for the charges.

However, if you are convicted of a crime there are many options for post-conviction relief. The type of post-conviction relief you can receive depends on the criminal conviction you have.

A defendant can appeal their convictions and try to get the convictions reversed or the sentence lifted. However, these options are strictly time sensitive, so you need to consult with legal counsel right after your conviction to get the ball rolling.

Motion to Withdraw a Plea

If a defendant is offered a plea bargain at the beginning of a case and decides to accept it, they may do so out of fear.

However, if the defendant was not given information about other options or fully informed of the consequences of accepting the plea bargain by a lawyer, they may have the right to file a motion to withdraw the plea bargain.

If the judge allows, the defendant can opt for a trial or their defense lawyer can negotiate a better plea bargain for them, which may result in a reduced charge.

Motion for a New Trial

A motion for a new trial is an option after conviction when mistakes are made at the original trial.

Some mistakes are small and wouldn’t affect the outcome of the trial. Other mistakes, however, are serious enough that they could change the outcome of the trial, therefore, depriving the defendant of due process.

If the mistakes at the original trial were serious enough, the defendant can ask for a new trial.

In this case, the original verdict will be thrown out and the defendant will get a do-over trial like the first one never happened.


A defendant convicted of a crime in Nevada has the right to appeal their guilty verdict to a higher court in the state.

If you were tried in the Eighth Judicial District Court in Las Vegas, your verdict can be appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court or The Nevada Court of Appeals depending on the case.

When you appeal your case, you are not asking for a new trial. The judges in the appellate court will review your original trial records for errors such as misconduct by the prosecution or misinterpretation of the laws pertaining to your trial.

The judges will then either affirm the trial verdict or overturn it.

Writs of Habeas Corpus

Habeas Corpus in Latin means “you shall have the body”.

The body in the phrase means the body of someone who is in custody because they have been arrested and convicted of a crime.

Writs of Habeas Corpus are usually a last resort after an appeal fails. In the writ, the defendant argues that they are being unlawfully incarcerated.

The most common arguments to writs of habeas corpus are ineffective counsel or there is new evidence to show the defendant was innocent of the crime they were convicted of.

Writs of Habeas Corpus are very rare and the process is lengthy. If the paperwork is not filed in the time allotted or the paperwork is not filed properly your writ will be denied.

You’ll need an experienced attorney who knows how to file writs of habeas corpus.

Early Termination of Probation

If you have been placed on probation for a criminal charge, you can request an early termination of probation.

These are not granted often since the court believes people should serve out their entire probation sentence.

If the court feels you have been rehabilitated and it will not pose any threat to the public the defendant may be able to have their probation period terminated early.


A commutation of a sentence is not an appeal or getting a conviction overturned, but asking to have their prison sentence or parole reduced or commuted.

The defendant needs to apply to the pardon board. The nine-person board will vote after reviewing the person’s case and prison record.

A majority vote is needed to have a sentence reduced.

A commutation is also called “executive clemency”


A pardon is granted by the governors of the state and usually at the end of their term in office. It is considered forgiveness for a crime.

Pardons are very rarely granted and only happen when:

  • Several years have passed since the crime and conviction
  • The crime was not the most serious of crimes
  • The applicant is considered rehabilitated and remorseful

Record Sealing

If you have been convicted of a crime, you can have your record sealed in certain circumstances.

This means your criminal record will not show up on a background check.

While some criminal charges cannot be sealed, for most charges there is a possibility of sealing them after a certain period of time has passed.

Getting your case dismissed is the best outcome of a criminal case.

The second best option is to have your case acquitted if the case goes to trial.

If you are convicted of a crime you do have many options to have the case overturned or the sentence reduced.

You will need a lawyer to help you navigate the appeals process since it is time sensitive, and the process is complicated.

The Defenders are experienced in all aspects of trial law in Nevada and can navigate the appeals process for our clients.

We fight to get the best possible outcome for our clients. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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