When convicted of a serious crime in the State of Washington, defendants have the right to petition for post-conviction relief. Usually, this takes the form of a direct appeal.
Other forms exist, however. Section 10.73.090 of the Revised Code of Washington authorizes collateral attack, meaning any form of post-conviction relief other than direct appeal.
Types of collateral attack
Collateral attack includes any of the following:
- Habeas corpus petition
- Motion to vacate judgment
- Motion to arrest judgment
- Motion for new trial
- Motion to withdraw guilty plea
- Personal restraint petition
Collateral attack is extremely time sensitive. The convicted defendant must file his or her motion within one year of the date on which the trial court’s judgment becomes final.
FindLaw defines a writ of habeas corpus, Latin for “produce the body,” as a “court order demanding that a public official (such as a warden) deliver an imprisoned individual to the court and show a valid reason for that person’s detention.”
After listening to all the evidence, if the judge finds in favor of the imprisoned individual, he or she can grant immediate relief, including such things as the following:
- Release of the prisoner from prison
- Reversal of his or her conviction
- Reduction of his or her sentence
- Declaration of his or her rights
- Immediate halt to whatever illegal confinement conditions exist
The most important thing for imprisoned defendants to remember when considering a writ of habeas corpus is that they stand a much better chance of succeeding in this type of collateral attack when they acquire the services of an attorney experienced in obtaining this type of post-conviction relief for his or her clients.