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Tampa Post-Conviction Relief Lawyer

In addition to filing a direct appeal, a conviction may be collaterally attacked by filing a post-conviction motion. Such motions may allege ineffective assistance of counsel (in a Rule 3.850 motion), or they may allege an illegal sentence (in a Rule 3.800 motion). Contact Donald C. Barrett, P.A. to discuss ways you may be able to fight your conviction.

Ineffective Assistance of Counsel and other motions

In a landmark decision arising out of a Florida criminal case in the 1980s, the Supreme Court of the United States held that when a lawyer’s performance falls below an objective standard of reasonableness, the defendant may be deprived of his or her right to counsel under the Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution. The court in Strickland V. Washington established a test for ineffective assistance of counsel, requiring a reasonable probability of a different result had counsel performed appropriately. As an experienced criminal trial and appellate lawyer, Donald C. Barrett is well-versed in the representation of criminal defendants and understands when an ineffective assistance of counsel motion may be appropriate.

In another case, the Florida Supreme Court stated that motions for ineffective assistance of counsel should be brought under Rule 3.850 of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, which governs motions to vacate, set aside or correct a sentence. Other motions for post-conviction relief under this rule can be brought for any guilty verdict, guilty plea or no contest plea involving:

  • An unconstitutional judgment or sentence
  • A lack of jurisdiction to enter judgment or impose sentence
  • A sentence exceeding the maximum authorized by law
  • An involuntary plea
  • A judgment or sentence otherwise subject to collateral attack

Some motions must be filed within two years of when the judgment and sentence become final, while other motions may be brought at any time. Attorney Donald C. Barrett will work to ensure any Rule 3.850 motion is timely and sufficient. He is also fully prepared to represent you at any hearing which may be required on the motion.

Illegal Sentence motions

Motions alleging that an illegal sentence was imposed are brought under Rule 3.800 of the Florida Rules. Florida criminal statutes establish a range of sentencing options for different felonies and misdemeanors. Sentencing errors can be made by the judicial system; a diligent defense attorney will pay close attention and review sentencing to make sure it conforms with the law. Rule 3.800 motions can be brought to:

  • Correct, reduce or modify an illegal sentence imposed by the court
  • Correct a calculation made by the court on the sentencing scoresheet
  • Correct an erroneous designation of the defendant as a sexual predator
  • Correct an inaccurate calculation of jail credit

An illegal sentence motion must identify the error with specificity and provide a proposed correction. The state may respond and contest the alleged error, and a hearing on the motion and rehearing on the sentencing may be required. If the court denies or dismisses an illegal sentence motion, the defendant has 30 days to appeal.

Help is Available for Post-Conviction Relief in the Tampa Bay Area

If you believe that you may have a claim for post-conviction relief based on ineffective assistance of counsel, an illegal sentence or for any other reason, contact Donald C. Barrett, P.A. for a free consultation with an experienced Tampa post-conviction relief lawyer.

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