What is a post-conviction proceeding?

A post-conviction proceeding is a proceeding provided for in state court that enables a defendant to challenge the constitutionality or legality of some aspect of the trial court proceeding. It is called a post-conviction proceeding because it occurs after the conviction and after the direct appeal process. In many states, it is a statutory, not a constitutional, right. There are generally time limits on when a defendant may file a state post-conviction proceeding.