South Carolina PCR Process

If your rights were violated during your criminal trial, you may qualify for post-conviction relief (PCR). However, just because you can file an appeal for post-conviction relief does not mean it will be easy to win a new trial. Challenging a criminal conviction is an arduous process that is full of red tape, and applying for PCR can be extremely complicated. A South Carolina post-conviction relief attorney could provide guidance and advice throughout this process and advocate for you in the before the circuit court and/or appeals court. Read on to learn more about what goes into the South Carolina PCR process, as well as the ways a skilled defense lawyer could offer you their assistance today.

A Step-By-Step View of the South Carolina PCR Process

In South Carolina, those convicted of a crime can seek post-conviction relief (PCR) only after appealing their case. If the direct appeal is denied, they can then file for PCR as the defendant (applicant). Because of this, state courts often refer to PCR as the second part of the appeals process. Those seeking post-conviction relief must file an application for relief with the court within a strict deadline after the direct appeal is denied. The application itself is quite complex and it must be timely filed with the court and served on the appropriate parties.

Applicants must provide detailed arguments about why they should receive PCR, as well as evidence supporting their claims. This can be difficult to do while in SCDC custody, but a skilled attorney could potentially help to expedite the South Carolina PCR process. After submitting the PCR application, there may be a court hearing in which the defendant’s attorney can argue for a new trial. During this hearing, the defendant’s lawyer must show how the original attorney failed to provide effective assistance of counsel in their criminal case and that it resulted in an unfair conviction.

Common Grounds for Post-Conviction Relief

When a criminal defense attorney fails to investigate the case, act in the defendant’s best interests, present evidence in their favor, or object to improper evidence, the defendant may be unfairly convicted. Incompetent or ineffective assistance of counsel is the most common ground for PCR. Applicants may also claim other types of legal error occurred in their original trial, such as:

  • Prosecutorial misconduct such as withholding of evidence
  • Improper jury instructions issued by the trial judge
  • Jurisdiction issues (e.g. the court did not have the authority to hear the case)
  • Discovery of exonerating evidence after the trial

Retaining a lawyer experienced in the South Carolina PCR process can be an important first step in fighting for a new trial after going through the aforementioned injustices.

PCR Statute of Limitations

In South Carolina, PCR is generally the last type of relief someone can apply for when trying to overturn their conviction. Therefore, a defendant can only submit their application after their direct appeal is over. The South Carolina Uniform Post-Conviction Procedure Act (Code Section 17-27-45) limits the amount of time someone has to file a PCR application. According to this law, the defendant must file their PCR application within one year of conviction and sentencing of the judge passing down a ruling for a reconsideration—or a remittitur to a lower court from an appeal, or of the filing of the final decision upon an appeal, whichever is later.

If you require assistance in fighting for a retrial, do not hesitate to reach out to a defense attorney experienced in the South Carolina PCR process today for your initial consultation.

South Carolina Post-Conviction Relief Lawyer