If you have previously been convicted for a crime that you did not commit, then something you might want to seek out is a certificate of innocence. This is a powerful kind of post-conviction relief that helps you get the conviction removed from your record. It also indicates that the conviction was inaccurate and that you never should have been convicted in the first place.
You can make a petition for the certificate of innocence as a step toward getting justice for what you’ve been through. When you get this petition granted, you’ll be able to seek damages against the state, too. This means that you may be able to get fair compensation for all the time you’ve lost while convicted. These monetary damages may help you get back on your feet and support you as you live your life in the future.
What do you need to do to prove that you’re innocent?
To successfully seek the certificate of innocence, you will need to show that you were wrongfully convicted of a felony and sentenced to prison. To do this, you’ll need to have evidence that you were more likely innocent than not despite being convicted for the crime.
Some times when this might happen are if:
- A new trial is ordered by an appeals court and you’re found not guilty
- New evidence shows that you are actually innocent of the crime you were convicted of
- A law upon which you were convicted is now unconstitutional
- The prosecution fails to retry you in a new trial ordered by an appeals court
If you prove your case, you’ll receive a pardon from the governor. This pardon will specifically state that your pardon was granted on the grounds of innocence for a crime for which you were imprisoned. After this, an order will be placed to expunge your record. All additional records about the event should be sealed as well.
If you can show that you are innocent, getting a certificate of innocence is the right option to pursue. It could help you change your life as you seek fair compensation and move to live with the freedoms that you always deserved.