Post-Conviction Relief (PCR) in Arizona

Post-conviction relief.

Post-Conviction Relief (PCR) in Arizona

Post-conviction relief (PCR) is a way for a person convicted or sentenced in a criminal case to gain relief if they feel they were wrongfully convicted or sentenced. PCR is utilized in cases where relevant issues to the case only became known or available following the defendant’s conviction at trial or their acceptance of a plea agreement. If it can be proven that these issues would have impacted the fairness of a case’s outcome, the defendant may be eligible for a new trial or sentencing hearing.

Is Post-Conviction Relief the Same as an Appeal?

While an appeal is another way to challenge the conviction or sentencing of a criminal case, appeals may only be filed in cases where the defendant was found guilty at trial. Additionally, appeals deal only with the information that was already used in the initial trial in order to arrive at a potentially new outcome.

On the other hand, PCR is available even to those who have accepted a plea agreement. Rather than looking into the previously used evidence from the case, PCR allows for the disclosure and production of new information to determine if there may be a new outcome for the defendant. This includes issues of unjust sentencing or improperly applied mitigating or aggravating factors in the defendant’s sentencing.

Post-conviction relief may also arise from cases of “ineffective assistance of counsel,” if the defense attorney failed to properly prepare or carry out their defense.

How Can a Post-Conviction Relief Petition Be Filed?

A defendant who feels they have a case for PCR has only 90 days from their date of sentencing to file their notice of post-conviction relief with the court. If the defendant previously filed for an appeal, they will have 30 days from the date of their last appeal to file for PCR. This will be done through a Rule 32 or Rule 33 petition.

A Rule 32 petition is suitable for defendants who were convicted following a trial or contested probation violation hearing. A Rule 33 petition is suitable for defendants who pled guilty or no contest, admitted a probation violation, or had an automatic probation violation based on a plea of guilty or no contest.

AZ Courts offers petitions for post-conviction relief here for those who would like to file for PCR on their own.

What Outcomes Might Post-Conviction Relief Bring?

If a court grants post-conviction relief, a defendant can expect any of the following outcomes:

  • Release from custody and discharge.
  • A new trial.
  • A correction of the original sentence.
  • The right to file a delayed appeal.

Those petitioning for PCR should be aware of the face that if they are granted a retrial, they run the risk of being given an even harsher sentence than was initially ordered.

Hiring a defense attorney from Rideout Law Group to handle your post-conviction relief petition is recommended over handling it independently to help ensure that you have a strong case for PCR that is likely to lead in a more favorable outcome than was originally received.


With offices in Lake Havasu City and Scottsdale, our firm serves the entire state of Arizona, with a particular focus on criminal defense, family law, and juvenile cases.

Our goal is for the best outcome for your criminal case, which can include:

  • charges that are reduced or dropped.
  • top experts reviewing your case.
  • aggressive negotiations with the prosecution for plea bargains.
  • fines or probation in lieu of jail time.

At Rideout Law Group, our attorneys are able to expertly examine the evidence in your case to provide a strong strategy for argument that leads to an outcome that is most favorable to you. We have experience in all types of criminal cases for both adults and juveniles, with positive outcomes both in plea negotiations as well as jury trial settings.

Call us today for a free consultation at 480-584-3328.

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