Appeals There's No Case Too Complex

Des Moines Criminal Appeals Lawyer

Post-Conviction Relief in Iowa

Appeals and requests for post-conviction relief both occur after a conviction. At Branstad & Olson, we are ready to address your concerns about a prior trial or legal proceeding. Our Des Moines criminal appeal attorneys are often able to attack unfair judgments and sentences, with the goal of reversing the conviction completely, or reducing time in prison.

If there is enough evidence you have suffered an injustice, an appellate court may send your case back for a new trial or for re-sentencing. At Branstad & Olson, we are determined to tackle the most complex, challenging cases of appellate law, ensuring you received a truly fair trial.

Additionally, in Iowa, following a conviction by either trial or guilty plea, you may be able to file for post-conviction relief to correct errors in that trial or plea proceeding. This is an important right to ensure fairness and accuracy in all legal proceedings.

Call today at (515) 329-3100 to discuss your legal options with our Des Moines criminal appeals attorneys.

What Are the Grounds for Appealing a Criminal Conviction in Iowa?

Although the IA court system is designed to give a fair trial to everyone, unfortunately, this is not always the case due to unintentional error or even intentional human bias. If you believe there was error in your original trial, you can request a higher court scrutinize the actions of the lower trial court to determine if a legal error occurred.

If the appellate judges decide that your trial was unfair, they may reverse the original decision or order a new trial. It is important to speak with an attorney right away if you believe a conviction was incorrect, as Iowa law limits the amount of time a person has to appeal.

The Des Moines criminal appeal lawyers at Branstad & Olson can answer questions regarding timing and likelihood of success in your appeal.

What Are the Grounds for An Appeal?

Some common examples of errors addressed following a conviction and could be grounds for an appeal include:

  • Perjury or other misconduct by witnesses or jurors
  • Failures by prior defense counsel
  • Prosecutor misconduct
  • Change in witnesses’ stories following trial
  • Trial court errors involving evidence admitted or the jury instructions used
  • Sentence illegally exceeded the maximum length of time allowed under Iowa law or the maximum fine amount allowed under Iowa law
  • Change in law after the verdict was entered

Appeals may cover a wide range of issues or questions. Call Branstad & Olson at (515) 329-3100 or fill out our online form today to get your questions answered from our Des Moines criminal appeal lawyers.

The Most Common Types of Post-Conviction Relief

While direct appeals can be effective, they only examine the existing record to find evidence of legal errors made in the trial. No new evidence can be submitted. However, other avenues of post-conviction relief offer alternatives to reversing a conviction or sentence that was entered in error.

Alternative types of post-judgment relief include:

Post-Conviction Relief

Post-conviction relief requests are often called the trial about the trial. These requests are filed to address issues including new evidence that was not available during the original trial, or errors committed by your prior lawyer.

Successful post-conviction rulings may completely reverse a conviction, or reduce the consequences of a conviction. Post-conviction applications have time limitations.


Pardons are difficult to obtain, because they require the Governor or the U.S. President to grant them. If you have a compelling and unusual request, Branstad & Olson can assist in gathering information and preparing your pardon application.


Certain cases may be expunged including:

If you believe you have a case to expunge, contact Branstad & Olson to determine eligibility. If you had a charge dismissed as a former Branstad & Olson client, contact us– we do applications for former clients at no charge.


In the case a juror or attorney committed grievous misconduct during the trial, such as altering evidence or committing a criminal act, a retrial may be warranted.

What is a Post-Conviction Petition?

A post-conviction petition is a legal document that allows a convicted individual to challenge their conviction after they have been sentenced. This document is typically filed in the same court where the conviction took place, and it contains arguments claiming that there was some sort of procedural error or constitutional violation during the original proceedings.

If successful, post-conviction petitions can lead to convictions being overturned or sentences being reduced. In most cases, individuals will need to hire an experienced appeals attorney to help them prepare and submit these petitions. Additionally, there are often strict deadlines for filing post-conviction petitions so it's important for individuals to act quickly if they believe their rights were violated during the original trial.

If you feel that your conviction should be overturned due to procedural errors or constitutional violations, a post-conviction petition may be the right course of action. Let our Des Moines criminal appeals lawyers assess yours or your loved one's case and determine if you are eligible to file a post-conviction petition.

Representation for Your Criminal Conviction Appeal in IA

Although appeals or post-conviction cases may be highly complex, at Branstad & Olson, our appeal attorneys in Des Moines, IA are ready to take on the challenge.

Need help with post-conviction relief in Iowa? Our Des Moines criminal appeal lawyers will tackle your case with rigor and fairness. Contact us at (515) 329-3100 today.

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