If a North Carolina court convicted you of committing a criminal offense, you have the automatic right to appeal that conviction. Before you and your attorney do so, however, you may wish to consider filing a Motion for Appropriate Relief. If the judge grants your motion, this could solve your conviction problem considerably faster than filing a full-blown appeal.
The UNC School of Government explains that North Carolina statutes offer you a choice of two different Motions for Appropriate Relief. Under G.S. 15A-1414, you can, within 10 days after the entry of judgment of your conviction, file a MAR if you believe an error occurred before or during your trial. Under G.S. 15A-1415, you can file a MAR based on constitutional grounds anytime after your conviction.
G.S. 15A-1414 vs G.S. 15A-1415 MARs
You file a G.S. 15A-1414 Motion for Appropriate Relief with the judge and court that convicted you. (S)he can then investigate your alleged errors and correct those that actually occurred, up to and including overturning your conviction if (s)he finds the error(s) precluded your receipt of a fair trial.
You likewise file a G.S. 15A-1415 Motion for Appropriate Relief in the court that convicted you, unless, of course, you filed an appeal, in which case you file the MAR in the appropriate appellate court. Here the errors you allege in your MAR must be constitutional in nature. For instance, you could allege one of the following appropriate errors:
- That the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over your case
- That your conviction violates either the United States or North Carolina Constitution
- That your indictment or other charging document contained a fatal flaw
- That you did not voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently enter into a guilty plea
- That you did not voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently waive your right to have counsel represent you
G.S. 15A-1417 describes the various types of relief you can obtain via a MAR, chief among them the overturning of your conviction. Bear in mind, however, that even if the court vacates your conviction, this does not necessarily mean that your troubles are over. The State could choose to retry you. Only if the court enters an order dismissing the charges against you in addition to its order granting your MAR must the State refrain from doing so.
This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.