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Post-Conviction Relief in Indiana


After a guilty verdict and sentencing, the legal process for a criminal defendant is not necessarily over. Post-conviction relief presents an opportunity to challenge the legality of some aspect of the trial, conviction, or sentence based on legal grounds that weren't available during the original proceedings. Unlike a direct appeal, which has a set deadline for filing, post-conviction relief can be pursued without such constraints.

What is Post-Conviction Relief?

Post-conviction relief allows a criminal defendant to challenge various aspects of their trial, conviction, or sentencing that may have been illegal or unconstitutional. This legal avenue is distinct from a direct appeal and can address issues such as:

  • Violations of state or federal laws

  • Errors in jurisdiction

  • Incorrect sentencing

  • Introduction of new, significant evidence

  • Unlawful revocation of probation or parole

  • Other material legal errors affecting the conviction or sentence

Strict compliance with the rules governing post-conviction relief is essential, as failure to do so can result in the forfeiture of the opportunity to seek relief.

Complexity of Post-Conviction Relief in Indiana

Initiating post-conviction proceedings involves filing a petition for post-conviction relief. Even minor errors in completing or filing these documents can have significant consequences, potentially leading to the loss of the right to seek relief.

Filing requirements include:

  • Submitting the petition to the court that entered the judgment of conviction

  • Providing multiple copies of the petition

  • Including all claims for relief in a single petition

Navigating these requirements demands the expertise of legal professionals familiar with the nuances of post-conviction relief.

Successive Post-Conviction Relief Petitions

While obtaining post-conviction relief is challenging, obtaining relief through subsequent petitions is even more so. A petitioner must assert extraordinary circumstances to file additional petitions, as initial petitions are expected to include all possible claims.

Habeas Corpus Proceedings

Habeas corpus proceedings, distinct from post-conviction relief, are civil actions seeking release from unlawful custody. These proceedings address federal violations or claims that arise after post-conviction relief. They require careful preparation and may involve federal habeas corpus statutes.


Seeking post-conviction relief or habeas corpus relief demands meticulous attention to detail and a thorough understanding of legal procedures. Professional legal guidance is indispensable in navigating these complex processes. Contact Brinkley Law at (317)643-1813 for legal assistance.


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