A personal restraint petition is a motion that certain inmates can file with the court in Washington state. An inmate may only file a petition for personal restraint if he meets a host of requirements to qualify and after all other motions for relief have been denied.
Definition of a Personal Restraint Petition
A personal restraint petition is a motion filed by an incarcerated individual after he's been convicted of a criminal act. It asks the court to release him from prison either on his own recognizance or to serve his sentence at home with an electronic monitoring device. Under Washington law, a personal restraint petition may be filed together with an appeal after the inmate has exhausted all other motions for relief.
A personal restraint petition doesn't reverse the original court's finding of guilt. If granted, it allows an incarcerated individual to be freed from a traditional correctional facility and instead be confined to his home. The petition asks the court to reconsider sentencing for the act for which the inmate was convicted.
In addition to having exhausted all other possibilities for appeal, the inmate must file the motion for a personal restraint petition within 20 days from the date the final decision has been made by the appellate court in regard to his conviction. The petition must also detail the laws which he feels his sentencing violates.
Methods of Appeal
A personal restraint petition is filed with the Washington State Court of Appeals. An inmate may do this himself or he can seek the assistance of an attorney. If he wants a lawyer, he must pay for those services himself unless he can prove to the court that he's destitute and simply can't afford it. In that case, the court will appoint an attorney to represent him at no cost.