What is a Motion for Appropriate Relief in North Carolina?
A Motion for Appropriate Relief is a post-conviction relief motion to collaterally attack a conviction under Article 89, Subchapter 14 of Chapter 15A of the North Carolina General Statutes, §§ 1411-1422. It is a legal mechanism that allows people who have been convicted of a crime to challenge their conviction because the conviction was obtained in violation of their Constitutional rights.
A Motion for Appropriate Relief (or MAR) is different than a direct appeal. Where a direct appeal is a legal challenge made in a higher court, a Motion for Appropriate Relief must be made in the trial court – the court where the person was convicted.
There is no statute of limitations or time limit for filing a Motion for Appropriate Relief in a non-death penalty case. However, there is a 120-day statute of limitations for filing a Motion for Appropriate Relief for a person who has been sentenced to death, which generally begins from the date that the person has exhausted all of their direct appeals or the time to file a direct appeal has expired.
A person who has filed a Motion for Appropriate Relief may be granted (1) a new trial on some or all of the charges or (2) dismissal on some or all of the charges, or (3) a new sentencing procedure which may result in a reduction of the sentence.
Trust your Motion for Appropriate Relief to an experienced appellate firm. Call Appeals Law Group today at (888) 241-8181.
What Are the Requirements for Appropriate Relief?
The grounds for a Motion for Appropriate Relief under N.C.G.S. § 15A-1415 are as follows:
(1) The acts charged were not defined by law as a crime when they were committed
(2) The trial court lacked jurisdiction over the person of the defendant or over the subject matter.
(3) The conviction was obtained in violation of the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of North Carolina
(4) The defendant was convicted or sentenced under an unconstitutional law or statute.
(5) The conduct for which the defendant was prosecuted was protected by the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of North Carolina.
(6) There has been a significant change in law, either substantive or procedural, applied in the proceedings leading to the defendant's conviction or sentence, and retroactive application of the changed legal standard is required.
(7) The sentence imposed was illegal or unconstitutional
(8) The defendant is in confinement and is entitled to release because his sentence has been fully served.
(9) The defendant was convicted of a first offense of prostitution under G.S. 14-204, and the court did not discharge the defendant and dismiss the charge pursuant to G.S. 14-204(b); the defendant's participation in the offense was a result of having been a victim of human trafficking under G.S. 14-43.11, sexual servitude under G.S. 14-43.13, or the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act (22 U.S.C. 7102(13)); and the defendant seeks to have the conviction vacated.
The most common grounds raised in a Motion for Appropriate Relief are a violation of the right to effective assistance of counsel, newly discovered evidence, prosecutorial misconduct, actual innocence, and illegality of sentence.
Filing a Motion for Appropriate Relief can be very complicated. An experienced appellate attorney must interview witnesses, investigate the facts of the case, review the discovery that leads to new evidence, and review the entire history of the case from start to finish to find legal errors to raise in the motion. Sometimes the court will require an evidentiary hearing to be held on the motion, where the lawyer will have to call witnesses, present evidence, and challenge the State's evidence, and make arguments to the court.
Hiring the right attorney for the job can be the difference between a winning motion and a losing motion. Contact our firm today.
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