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Post-Conviction Relief

A defendant who requests post-conviction relief asks the court to vacate or modify a judgment of conviction, or to reduce or modify a sentence. The process for requesting post-conviction relief is contained in Rules 32 and 33 of the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure.
  • Defendants who were convicted and sentenced after a trial or a contested probation violation hearing must follow the process in Rule 32.

  • Defendants who pled guilty or no contest to a criminal offense, who admitted a probation violation, or who had an automatic probation violation based on a plea of guilty or no contest must follow the process in Rule 33.
Notice Requesting Post-Conviction Relief

A defendant begins a post-conviction proceeding under Rule 32 or Rule 33 by filing a Notice Requesting Post-Conviction Relief (Form No. AOCCR41FORM24B). The defendant must file the notice in the trial court that imposed the judgment or sentence.

The Notice includes information about the defendant, the defendant’s conviction and sentence, the procedural history of the case, and the grounds for the defendant’s claims for relief under Rule 32 or Rule 33. The Notice also can include defendant’s request for a court-appointed attorney to assist the defendant in the post-conviction process.


Petition for Post-Conviction Relief

After filing a Notice, the defendant must file a Petition for Post-Conviction Relief (Form No. AOCCR41FORM25). The Petition must include facts that support the grounds for relief. The defendant can establish facts by using court records, transcripts of testimony, affidavits, and other documents.

The Petition must also include a memorandum that discusses how the facts support the claimed grounds for relief and should include any supporting legal authority for the claim.


Time Limits

There are time limits in Rules 32 and 33 for filing the Notice and the Petition. A failure to file a notice or petition within the specified time limits may be a basis for denying the requested relief.

Also, the defendant should raise any grounds for relief that the defendant is aware of, because a failure to raise a ground in the Notice and Petition might preclude the defendant from raising it later.