Although many Florida residents who are convicted on criminal charges feel that they have reached the end of their cases, there are several post-conviction proceedings that could result in a shortened sentence. In rare cases, a person's sentence may be eliminated altogether.
After a person is convicted, he or she must be sentenced. During sentencing, the court will decide what consequences the person should have. A person is entitled to have a defense attorney represent him or her in court while being sentenced. A defendant also has the right to an appeal if he or she was ruled against on certain motions. A lawyer may be present and work with the defendant when it comes to defending his or her rights while providing advice. Finally, people have the right to a lawyer under the Sixth Amendment. If someone believes his or her attorney was not competent or effective, another lawyer may be appointed to review the case.
There are also some post-conviction proceedings that do not necessarily give the defendant the right to court-appointed counsel. This includes any discretionary appeals and petitions for the Supreme Court, retrials, habeas corpus proceedings, parole hearings and expungements. While a criminal law attorney may still represent a person during these proceedings, these circumstances do not necessitate defendants having legal counsel.
While it can be very difficult to successfully file an appeal and overturn a conviction, there are cases where it could change the outcome of a person's future. Even if someone has already been convicted, a criminal defense attorney may assist with post-conviction matters by going over the case to look for instances where the person's rights may have been violated. For example, if the individual's former legal counsel was ineffective, a lawyer may argue for a new trial to ensure that the defendant's rights are protected.