We are New Jersey PCR Lawyers.PCR” stands for Post Conviction Relief. Post Conviction Relief is one of several mechanisms by which a conviction can be vacated. Two other mechanisms by which a conviction can be removed are appeals, and motions to vacate a plea.

PCR, appeals, and motions to vacate a plea all have something in common: When successful, a conviction is nullified. Upon completion of the process, depending upon many factors, either the case goes away completely, or the original charges are reinstated. However, differences between the three procedures exist. Thus it is necessary to choose the procedure most applicable to the situation.

Differences between PCR, Appeal, and Motion To Vacate Sentence
Procedure Deadline To File When Applicable
PCR Generally, five years from the date the Judgment of Conviction is entered. The five-year deadline can sometimes be overcome. PCR applies to assert issues that were not raised at trial, and that are not part of the record below. For those reasons, PCR deals with issues that could not have been raised on direct appeal. Often the basis for PCR applications is ineffective assistance of counsel.
Appeal Forty-five days from the date the Judgment of Conviction is entered. Appeals challenge decisions of issues resolved adversely to the party taking the appeal.
Motion To Vacate
Guilty Plea
Rules of Court do not impose any deadline. However, the standards to grant motions to vacate guilty plea are much easier to meet when made before sentencing. Numerous possible grounds, including plea was entered involuntarily, or defendant failed to provide an adequate factual basis, or did not understand penal consequences, or plea was to a defective indictment.

PCR applications can be filed after a guilty plea, and they can also be filed after a trial. PCR applications can be filed while the defendant is serving a jail or prison sentence. They can also be filed after a sentence has been completed. State of New Jersey v. Roper, 362 N.J. Super. 248 (App. Div., 2003) established that principle. Willie Roper had ten indictable convictions before his conviction on the matter for which he sought PCR. The trial judge held that a PCR hearing would be a waste of the court's time. The Appellate Division disagreed. That court held that the conviction for which PCR was sought could affect sentences on future convictions. As such, the trial court was obliged to consider the PCR application.

Probably the asserted basis for most PCR applications is ineffective assistance of counsel. Ineffective assistance of counsel forms a basis for having a conviction set aside under both New Jersey and federal constitutional law. For an ineffective assistance of counsel argument to succeed, the PCR applicant must establish two things. The first is that counsel's performance was substandard; and that counsel's inadequate performance prejudiced the defendant. Counsel's substandard performance need not have been at trial itself; it could have Post Conviction Relief been at pretrial preparation. For example, counsel may have failed to conduct an adequate investigation. Or counsel may have failed to challenge an illegal search and seizure of evidence.

Allan Marain and Norman Epting are experienced New Jersey PCR lawyers. They have been representing persons charged with crimes for more years than most people reading this page have been alive. They know their way around. If you believe PCR might possibly help you, call them. They would welcome the opportunity to review your situation.

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“We, as criminal defense lawyers, are forced to deal with some of the lowest people on earth. People who have no sense of right and wrong. People who will lie in court to get what they want. People who do not care who gets hurt in the process. It is our job, our sworn duty as criminal defense lawyers, to protect our clients from those people.”

Cynthia Roseberry

Counsellors at Law in the Law Offices of Allan Marain, located in New Brunswick, represent clients throughout Central and Northern New Jersey. That includes Asbury Park, Bedminster, Belleville, Bergenfield, Berkeley Heights, Bernards Township, Bernardsville, Bogota, Bound Brook, Branchburg, Brick, Bridgewater, Clifton, Clinton, Closter, Cranbury, Cranford, Cresskill, Deal, Demarest, Denville, Dover, Dumont, Dunellen, East Brunswick, East Rutherford, East Windsor, Edison, Elizabeth, Emerson, Englewood, Englishtown, Ewing, Franklin Township, Freehold, Garfield, Garwood, Hackensack, Highland Park, Hillsborough, Hillsdale, Hillside, Jersey City, Kearny, Kenilworth, Lakewood, Lawrence Township, Mahwah, Manville, Marlboro, Matawan, Metuchen, Middlesex Borough, Monroe, Mountainside, New Brunswick, North Brunswick, Nutley, Old Bridge, Paramus, Parsippany, Paterson, Perth Amboy, Piscataway, Plainfield, Plainsboro, Point Pleasant, Princeton, Rahway, Raritan, Readington, Red Bank, Ridgefield, Ridgefield Park, Ridgewood, Robbinsville, Rockaway, Rocky Hill, Roselle, Roselle Park, Rutherford, Sayreville, Scotch Plains, Seabright, Seaside Heights, Seaside Park, Secaucus, Shrewsbury, Somerville, South Amboy, South Bound Brook, South Brunswick, South Orange, South Plainfield, South River, Sparta, Spotswood, Summit, Teaneck, Tenafly, Toms River, Trenton, Union, Wall, Warren, Washington, Watchung, West Windsor, Westfield, Woodbridge, and other communities in Bergen County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Ocean County, Somerset County, Sussex County, Union County, and Warren County. They handle criminal matters in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. They are available to handle matters in the United States Supreme Court.

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