Being charged with any crime is overwhelming, but being convicted of a federal offense can feel crippling. Many defendants are unsure how to proceed after a conviction is handed down.
The choices that you make post-conviction can have a lasting impact on your life for many years to come. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to help you evaluate your options and take the course of action that makes the most sense in your case.
File an Appeal
One of the most popular post-conviction options is the filing of an appeal. Appellate courts are not concerned with a person's guilt or innocence. Their primary focus is to ensure that the laws pertaining to the arrest, trial, and conviction of a defendant are upheld.
Your attorney can evaluate all of the evidence and transcripts from your original trial. If he or she feels that procedural errors were made, then filing an appeal can be a wise decision. Appellate court judges have the ability to overturn a conviction if they find that the conviction was handed down after a trial plagued by procedural errors.
Get a Certificate of Rehabilitation
Another option you may want to explore with your criminal defense attorney after a federal conviction is a Certificate of Rehabilitation. This is a document that is granted by the court system which states that you have been rehabilitated.
The Certificate of Rehabilitation can restore some of the rights that you lost when you were convicted of a federal felony. Having the certificate in-hand can also improve your employment options and eliminate some of the ongoing registration requirements some convicted felons face.
It's important to keep in mind that a Certificate of Rehabilitation does not erase your criminal history. The conviction can still be used against you in future trials, you still need to declare the conviction on any employment forms, and it does not prevent the conviction from appearing on a background check.
Ask for a Sentence Modification
Your attorney may decide that requesting a sentence modification is in your best interest following a felony conviction. Sentence modifications are granted on a limited basis. Your attorney will need to prove that errors were made during the sentencing process that need to be corrected.
If you choose to cooperate with federal investigators and provide information that leads to additional arrests, you may also request a sentence modification in exchange for your cooperation.
An experienced federal criminal lawyer can help you weigh your options and choose a course of action that is in your best interest following your conviction for a federal crime.