Options After a Federal Crime Conviction

Posted on in Federal Crimes

convictionBeing convicted of a federal crime such as bankruptcy fraud or embezzlement is a scary thing. Upon hearing the conviction, accused individuals wonder what they are going to do, and what comes next. They may consider filing an appeal, but this is not the only recourse a person has. There are several options other than an appeal and, with the right federal criminal defense attorney, a conviction does not always mean the case is closed. Below are some of the common options sought by those that have been convicted.


Often, an appeal is the first thing a person considers after a conviction. This can be done when a lower court made a mistake deciding, or interpreting, the legal statutes involved with a case. There are many common bases for appeals including:

  • Fourth Amendment violations
  • Incompetent legal representation
  • Evidence was withheld that would have exonerated the defendant
  • Sentencing was overly harsh
  • Evidence that was improperly obtained was used to convict the defendant

Habeas Corpus

Habeas corpus is a writ that allows a defendant to argue before the court that their detention or imprisonment is unlawful. These motions are extremely complex so it is important those convicted work with a federal criminal defense attorney that has experience with them.

Certificate of Rehabilitation

In some cases, a person convicted of a federal crime can obtain a certificate of rehabilitation declaring that the person has been rehabilitated. This option is a good choice for those that want to clean up their criminal record and who have already had a conviction dismissed or expunged.


Although rare, it is sometimes possible to get a conviction pardoned. This does not mean that the person is innocent, but that the person now accepts responsibility for the offense.

Sentence Modifications

Sentence modifications are also fairly rare, as they are only available in a limited number of situations. These include:

  • When a mistake was made during sentencing
  • The defendant is now providing prosecutors with information about another offense
  • The defendant has a terminal illness that will make them unable to serve the sentence

Sentence modifications are available following a conviction or during a trial.

Rule 37

Under Rule 37, the defendant petitions the court stating their attorney at the original trial was inefficient or made a mistake that resulted in the person’s conviction. For example, if the attorney knew of admissible evidence that would exonerate the client and did not introduce it, that could be cause for a defendant to file a petition.

Contact an Attorney Today for Help

Being convicted of a federal crime is scary, and frustrating. However, it is not always the end. Even after conviction, you have many options. To be successful in pursuing them, you must speak to a skilled Chicago federal criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel, we will examine your case, and how it was handled at trial, to determine if post-conviction option is right for you. We will advise on the action to take, and help you through it every step of the way. If you have been convicted, call us today at 312-629-0669 to learn more about your next steps.


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