Writs and Appeals in Texas

A person who has been convicted of a crime in Texas is allowed to appeal the conviction to a higher court one time, but several writs may be sought in the same case. A writ is an order that is issued from a higher court directing the lower court to take a particular action in a case.

The judicial system views writs as extraordinary measures and will allow them only if the defendant has exhausted all other potential remedies, such as an appeal. As such, writs are normally used to challenge an issue that the defendant was unable to raise on their appeal, such as mistakes that are not easily understood from the trial’s record.

There are several commonly used legal grounds used as a basis for a writ. Examples include an attorney’s failure to investigate a defense or a failure to object at the time of the error. Others may include when a defendant has already filed an appeal, but a writ filed after an appeal cannot simply restate the claims made in the appeal itself or it will be dismissed. Some writs are filed due to urgency or prior to when the conviction is entered due to a need for immediate relief.

People who want to file a writ in their case may need to get help from a criminal defense attorney in order to do so. Writs are highly technical, and an experienced attorney may be better able to identify the grounds for a particular writ. Attorneys may also be able to advise their clients on whether a basis for a writ exists, and if it does, they may then prepare the documents on their client’s behalf and file it with the appellate court that has jurisdiction over the matter.