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Do I Need an Attorney to Help Me Draft a Habeas Corpus Petition?

March 6, 2017

Do You Need an Attorney to Help You Draft a Habeas Corpus Petition?

Yes. Drafting a habeas corpus petition is complicated. But it's not just drafting the petition that is complicated. Filing the petition is complicated too. There are complicated rules governing when and how to file the petition. You need an attorney to help you. Here are some of the specific reasons that having an attorney help you is so important:

1. You Will Probably only Have One Chance to File a Habeas Corpus Petition.

In Virginia state court, you get one chance to file a habeas corpus petition. There are a few very limited exceptions to the rule that you only get one chance to file a habeas corpus petition, but in the vast majority of cases, you have one chance. If you make a mistake, you could cause the petition to be dismissed before the judge even considers whether your rights have been violated. Hiring an attorney who has experience with habeas corpus petition will ensure that you take full advantage of your chance to file a petition.

2. if You Forget to Include a Claim, You Will Probably Be Unable to Ever Raise the Claim Again.

Your initial habeas corpus petition must include every claim that is available at the time you file your petition. If you forget to include a claim, you will probably never be able to raise the claim again. If you don't have legal experience and education, it's difficult to know what claims you have available. It's likely that you suspect your rights have been violated in some way, but it's also likely that your rights have been violated in a way that you're not even aware of. Hiring an experience habeas coorpus attorney will allow you to investigate and prepare every possible claim.

3. Even if You Successfully File Your Habeas Petition, You Will Be Going Against an Attorney from The Virginia Attorney General's Office.

Even if you are able to successfully file your habeas petition and you include all of the potential claims with the petition, you will be going up against a trained attorney. The Virginia Attorney General's Office has a team of attorneys whose only job is to handle habeas corpus petitions and other criminal appeals. That means they spend all of their time figuring out ways to beat you. If your filing a habeas petition, it's likely that the criminal justice system has done a bad job in protecting your rights so far. That's probably not going to change if you decide to represent yourself against the Attorney General's Office. You should hire an attorney with experience working against the attorneys at the Attorney General's Office.


You owe it to yourself to at least consult with an experience habeas corpus attorney. You might decide not to hire an attorney, but at the very least a consultation can point you in the right direction. Please call Bryan Jones to schedule a consultation.