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What’s the difference between an appeal and a writ of habeas corpus?

On Behalf of | Aug 16, 2021 | Habeas Corpus cases

If you are convicted of a crime, chances are your legal team will consider disputing the conviction. You can dispute a conviction in a couple of ways, which include a direct appeal as well as a writ of habeas corpus. 

The difference between a direct appeal and habeas corpus can be confusing, and it can be difficult determining which process best suits your case. Understanding the difference between these two legal processes can help you make an informed decision when contesting your conviction. 

Understanding a direct appeal

A direct appeal allows a convicted person to appear before the appellate court in order to attempt to prove that a mistake was committed during the trial and conviction process. 

Possible outcomes of an appeal process include:

  • A new trial
  • A new sentencing hearing
  • Sentence affirmation
  • A conviction overturned

During the direct appeal process, the convict’s legal team will attempt to point out intentional or non-intentional errors during the trial and conviction. 

Understanding a writ of habeas corpus

A “writ” is a written order that is issued by a body with legal jurisdiction such as a court. The order basically directs a party to either abstain from or take a specific action. A writ of habeas corpus directs a convicted individual to be availed in court. It also gives reasons why the jailed individual should remain in custody. During the writ of habeas corpus procedure, the jailed individual can dispute the legality of their incarceration by providing new information in court. A writ of habeas corpus is usually filed as a last resort when all the appeals options are exhausted or when a direct appeal is not viable. 

Challenging a conviction can be a difficult and financially taxing legal process. Having a clearer understanding of your legal options can help you set up the right dispute process and achieve the desired outcome for your case.