(512) 565-8844

New Braunfels Writs of Habeas Corpus

<< Back to Practice Areas

Another way to overturn a criminal conviction is an application for a writ of habeas corpus. An application for a writ of habeas corpus asks a court to overturn your conviction because of a state or federal constitutional violation.

Unlike a direct appeal, there is no deadline for filing a writ in state court. You do not need to give notice within thirty days of your sentence. Furthermore, unlike a direct appeal, the court can consider matters outside of what is in the court reporter’s record.

I Can Help

Contact me for a free case review if you are charged with a crime in Comal County or other Central Texas counties such as Hays County, Guadalupe County, Travis County, or Bexar County.

A Guaranteed Right

The writ of habeas corpus is a right guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Texas Constitution. Originally, habeas corpus was a remedy to prevent the government from holding a citizen illegally. Suppose the government imprisoned someone for no reason. In that case, a lawyer could apply for a writ of habeas corpus complaining of constitutional violations such as the denial of trial and being confined in jail or prison.

 A constitutional violation and “restraint” are still the two basic requirements for a writ of habeas corpus. However, the restraint requirement has expanded over time to include the effects of a conviction other than imprisonment. For example, probation is now considered a form of restraint. Furthermore, a final conviction can meet the restraint requirement because the State can use it to increase the punishment for a subsequent offense.

Typical Habeas Corpus Claims in Central Texas

A typical habeas corpus claim is ineffective assistance of counsel. The United States Constitution requires that a defendant have competent legal representation. Suppose your lawyer failed to advise you properly about the consequences of your plea bargain or pled you out without investigating the facts of your case. In that case, that may be a constitutional violation and the basis for a writ of habeas corpus.

Another habeas corpus claim is an involuntary plea. For example, suppose you agree to take credit for time served, and your lawyer tells you that you will not have a final conviction on your record. In that case, that might be a constitutional violation. Or if your lawyer tells you to plead guilty and tells you that the judge will give you probation. Instead, the judge gives you a prison sentence. Your attorney’s advice might constitute a constitutional violation.

A Possible Path to a New Trial

A writ of habeas corpus is typically the vehicle to litigate newly discovered evidence. If your state writ of habeas of corpus fails, you can file a writ in a federal district court. However, while a state writ does not have a deadline, you must file a federal writ within one year of your conviction being final.

It is vital to move quickly when filing a writ of habeas corpus. While attorneys can file a state writ at any time, a court will often dismiss your application if you wait too long after your conviction is final. This dismissal is under the doctrine known as laches, which is a legal principle that means you should have complained about the violation earlier. Furthermore, waiting too long will prohibit you from filing a writ in federal court. Often, federal courts are more sympathetic to habeas corpus claims than state courts.

I Can Help

Contact me for a free case review if you are charged with a crime in Comal County or other Central Texas counties such as Hays County, Guadalupe County, Travis County, or Bexar County.

Need Help With Your Case?