What is a Criminal Writ?

Posted on by New Mexico Criminal Law Offices

New Mexico Defense Attorney and Criminal Case Writs

judge reading a criminal writMost criminal defendants will never see a writ, but there are a select few that do. A writ is a formal document or order that comes from a higher court and directs the lower-level court to take action. Writs in criminal cases are seen in appeals. While the defendant only has one chance to appeal, it has multiple opportunities to present writs.

A writ from the higher court is difficult to obtain, and it involves advanced legal knowledge that only a criminal attorney possesses. If you are considering an application for a writ, it is imperative that you speak with a criminal defense attorney. The procedures for writs are highly involved; to ensure success, you need someone who understands case law.

Exploring the Different Types of State and Federal-Level Writs

The federal court system deploys only a handful of writs today, and many have been abolished slowly over the years. Writs that are still acceptable in federal court include:

  • Writs of Certiorari – This writ permits a review of your case.
  • Writs of Habeas Corpus – Your detention is challenged in this form of writ.
  • Writs of Injunctions or Prohibition – This writ can compel or outright forbid actions by the government or lower-level court.
  • Writs of Error Coram Nobis – This writ sets aside the lower court’s conviction.

State courts have different views on writs, and some take notice of the federal court’s approach when designing their writs. The New Mexico Court of Appeals does have similarities to the federal writs. They recognize federal writs and deploy others that are necessary to complete the exercise of their authority. Therefore, if a writ is necessary for the court to exercise its power over the government or lower courts, they will use it.

New Mexico recognizes writs of certiorari, injunctions, habeas corpus, and prohibition. Also, it allows additional writs like:

  • Writs of Attachment – This writ allows the seizure of a person or a person’s property.
  • Writs of Capias – This writ gives permission to issue a warrant for arrest.
  • Writs of Fieri Facias – This writ gives the government authority to seize property and auction it for debt.
  • Writs of Venire Facias – This writ summons jurors to appear in court.

Other Extraordinary Writs

The New Mexico Court of Appeals also handles extraordinary writs that are needed to exercise jurisdiction. However, these are dire measures, and the courts only grant a writ when they feel that there is no other remedy. Courts adjudicate writs quickly compared to how fast they adjudicate appeals. If a defendant is wronged in a lower level court, he or she (through an attorney) can request a writ.

Some common reasons to request a writ before an appeal include:

  • Inadequate defense or inappropriate objections over the errors of the case.
  • An issue of urgency in the case.
  • The attorney did not investigate the defense.
  • The judgment has not been entered by the trial court.

Speak With an Attorney About Your Eligibility for a Writ

Writs are incredibly complex, and even harder to get from the appeals court. Therefore, you need a defense attorney who can represent your case and help you receive a writ. Speak with the criminal defense lawyers at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices today. You can schedule your free case evaluation by calling us at 505-375-4671 or by contacting us online.