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When can you vacate a criminal conviction?

A wrongful conviction can turn your life upside-down. It can leave a lasting mark on your life as a criminal record, which can affect your future employment prospects and, in some cases, even where you can live and visit. A criminal conviction can also carry hefty penalties like fines and jail time.

However, it doesn't always have to be that way. There are several kinds of post-conviction relief available for those who have convicted improperly. One of these options is vacating the conviction. To have a conviction vacated is essentially to have it erased - it's as if the trial and conviction never happened.

However, it is a complicated process and the rules in each state are different. Generally, you cannot simply ask to have a conviction vacated if you disagree with the court's ruling or the conviction. However, most state laws recognize several circumstances they may justify vacating.

Usually, something must have gone wrong before or during the trial to justify vacating the conviction. One of the most common examples is incompetent or ineffective counsel. Misconduct or bias on the part of the judge or jury may also be a reason to vacate the conviction.

If you or someone you love have been wrongfully convicted of a crime, it doesn't have to be the end of the road. Consider working with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can get to know your case, advise you of your options and work with you to pursue the best possible result.

Source: The FindLaw Blotter, "How Do You Get a Conviction Vacated?" Andrew Lu, Jan. 28, 2013

To learn more about criminal charges in Missouri, please visit our website.

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Travis Noble is a graduate of the National College for DUI Defense at Harvard University, and he lectures at seminars nationwide on DWI/DUI topics. He is the lawyer whom other lawyers consult to defend their DWI clients. Most importantly, he has a track record of successfully defending some of the toughest DWI cases in Missouri and beyond.

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