Getting Post-Conviction Relief

Attorneys Aaron Spolin and Caitlin Dukes

Appeals attorneys Caitlin Dukes and Aaron Spolin handle post-conviction cases across the country.

Getting a court to grant post-conviction relief requires skillful representation by an attorney who understands relevant laws and has the resources to meet necessary deadlines. Spolin & Dukes P.C. aggressively fights for its clients with the following steps, when they apply to your specific case.

Mr. Spolin explains how these strategies work:

  • Finding Mistakes and Errors at the Trial: If you didn’t get a fair resolution in your original trial, you deserve to have it reviewed. Post conviction relief lawyers in California; Aaron Spolin, Caitlin Dukes, and the legal team at Spolin & Dukes P.C. will review the trial transcript and determine if any mistakes or errors were made. At Spolin & Dukes P.C., we pour over the details of our clients’ specific situations to search for bases for relief.
  • Making Sure Appropriate Laws Apply to the Case: If a prosecutor does not satisfy all of the elements of a statutory crime beyond a reasonable doubt, a conviction should not be made. Where there is a finding of guilt without proper application of all legal elements, post-conviction relief may be appropriate. Further, when there are changes to a law post-verdict, relief may also be extended by a court.
  • Introducing New Evidence and Raising Additional Issues: If there is new evidence that calls a guilty verdict into question, it may be appropriate to ask for the court to review new information. Additional issues often come up when new methods of collecting evidence are utilized or the prosecutor withheld essential information.
  • Helping Clients Move Forward with Their Lives: Even after being released from incarceration, many people who have been convicted face discrimination at work and in their personal lives. There are options for relief from probation, removal from Megan’s List, sealing of records, and reinstatement of other rights that can help the clients of Spolin & Dukes P.C. move forward.

The post-conviction lawyers at Spolin & Dukes P.C. have obtained numerous successful outcomes from California courts when seeking relief for their clients. Aaron Spolin, Caitlin Dukes, and the legal team at Spolin & Dukes P.C. are familiar with both state and federal courts. To learn more about how we may be able to help you, call us for a free consultation at (310) 424-5816.

  1. Getting Post-Conviction Relief
  2. Filing Post-Conviction Relief Documents in Criminal Cases
  3. Types of Post-Conviction Relief
  4. The Importance of a Post-Conviction Relief Lawyer

Filing Post-Conviction Relief Documents in Criminal Cases

There are multiple types of post-conviction relief that may apply to your case. Each request must be made to the court within a specific timeframe. If you miss any point in the timeline or fail to present the best argument possible, you may not get the outcome you deserve. This is true even if there is a good basis for your request. Therefore, if you wish to file a motion for post-conviction relief, you are welcome to contact attorney Aaron Spolin and his team of post-conviction relief lawyers, to ensure that you do not miss any deadlines.

To learn more about the urgency of your post-conviction relief efforts, and for a free consultation regarding your case, contact Spolin & Dukes P.C. at (310) 424-5816.

  1. Getting Post-Conviction Relief
  2. Filing Post-Conviction Relief Documents in Criminal Cases
  3. Types of Post-Conviction Relief
  4. The Importance of a Post-Conviction Relief Lawyer

Types of Post-Conviction Relief

Types of Post-Conviction (image of court documents or of an attorney filing documents)

Legal documents require specific language and must meet strict deadlines. Call Spolin & Dukes P.C. today to see if we may be able to assist you with your case.

It’s important to work with a post-conviction relief attorney who understands California laws and how they apply to each case. One or more types of post-conviction relief might apply to your case. Some common relief Spolin & Dukes P.C. works with include:

Motion to Withdraw a Plea

If a defendant made a plea agreement with the prosecutor, essentially pleading guilty or no contest, it may be withdrawn when it can be shown that the defendant did not know what they were agreeing to. This often happens when a defendant has ineffective assistance of counsel, or their attorney failed to explain everything fully. If a plea is withdrawn, the defendant may either go to trial or negotiate a new plea bargain.

Motion for a New Trial

If an original trial was not properly conducted, then a defendant may petition for a new trial, essentially asking for a do-over. This is often approved where there was prosecutorial misconduct or prejudice against the defendant that denied them a fair trial. Judges are often reluctant to grant motions for a new trial because they must admit that the trial they were a part of was flawed.

Writ of Habeas Corpus

A writ of habeas corpus may be filed if the appeals process for a criminal case fails. It is a last resort that argues that the defendant is imprisoned illegally. The argument is often supported by evidence of significant mistakes during the original trial or new evidence that questions the guilty verdict. If the writ is granted, the defendant may be released from custody.


A motion for resentencing requests a modification of an original sentence. This is often done to request a release from custody or relief from probationary conditions. For example, a defendant convicted of felony murder may be able to get a sentence reduction through Senate Bill 1437, which can cut decades off of a felony murder sentence.

Early Termination of Probation

Although probation is better than jail, it can still hold you back. It can seriously limit your ability to get a job, travel out of state, and engage in other activities. Under Penal Code 1203.3, the court may modify or terminate probation “at any time when the ends of justice will be subserved thereby.” That means if you can show that justice has been served, the court may terminate your probation early.


Eligible defendants who have been convicted of a crime may apply to the California governor to get a sentence reduction or elimination. If a defendant has two or more felony convictions, the California Supreme Court must weigh in to allow the commutation by a majority of the justices.

Exclusion from Megan’s List

Defendants who have been convicted of certain sexual offenses must register on Megan’s List. However, some people can petition to have their information excluded from the list, including anyone convicted under Penal Code 243.4(a) sexual battery by restraint, Penal Code 647.6 annoying or molesting a child, or any offense that did not include penetration or oral copulation, or where the victim was the defendant’s sibling, child, grandchild, stepchild, and probation has been completed.


Expungement may be possible after the completion of probation. Expungement essentially dismisses a case with no conviction, and the case does not even have to be revealed to employers in the future. Defendants not eligible for expungement include those who were convicted of certain sex crimes including children or who served time in California State Prison.

Certificate of Rehabilitation

People who have been convicted may be eligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation (COR) if they have lived in California for at least five years. Some crimes are excluded. CORs can help defendants get better jobs, obtain professional licenses, and relieve the need to register as a sex offender. This is also a step to reach a full Governor’s pardon.

Restoration of Gun Rights

Certain criminal convictions result in the loss of gun rights in California. However, they may be restored if the conviction was not a felony involving a dangerous weapon or domestic violence. Gun rights may also be restored through a Governor’s pardon.

Sealing of Juvenile Records

Juvenile records are not automatically sealed when a person turns 18 unless there was a seal and destroy order under Welfare and Institutions Code 781. Not all juvenile records may be sealed; however, a person seeking this relief should urgently do so. Juvenile records can impact the ability to attend college, obtain financial aid, get a good job, and live in certain locations.

To find out if post-conviction relief is appropriate in your case, contact an attorney at Spolin & Dukes P.C.

  1. Getting Post-Conviction Relief
  2. Filing Post-Conviction Relief Documents in Criminal Cases
  3. Types of Post-Conviction Relief
  4. The Importance of a Post-Conviction Relief Lawyer

The Importance of a Post-Conviction Relief Lawyer

Importance of a Post-Conviction Relief Lawyer (image of an attorney with a client)

Our clients are our first priority. Post-conviction relief can help defendants and their families overcome the harshest consequences they may be facing.

The attorney you choose can have a huge impact on the success of your post-conviction relief. Spolin & Dukes P.C. is led by Aaron Spolin (Princeton, BA; UC Berkeley, JD), an award-winning criminal appeals attorney who has taken many relief cases before California courts.

The best post-conviction relief lawyer can make a difference in several ways:

  • Applying the Law to Each Case: Seeking post-conviction relief requires an attorney to know the original laws that resulted in a conviction as well as statutes that can offer a reprieve from the harshest sentences. Attorney Aaron Spolin and his team of legal professionals are all highly educated and know California state and federal laws inside and out.
  • Analyzing the Record: One of the most essential steps in most relief cases is determining where things went wrong in the original case. An attorney can review your record to determine if your rights may have been violated.
  • Helping Clients Achieve Their Goals: Spolin & Dukes P.C. aggressively fights to protect our clients’ rights and seeks to achieve the goals they have for their futures. Our goal is to allow our clients to move forward professionally and personally.

To learn about post-conviction relief options, contact Spolin & Dukes P.C. for a free consultation. We are available at (310) 424-5816.