If you’re wrongfully convicted of a crime, what are you to do? Is this the end of the line? Do you serve your time and try and get your life back in order?
In many cases, you don’t have serve time for a crime that you didn’t commit, that’s why there is an appeals process. Some court decisions can be appealed if the trial was improperly conducted.
For example, the evidence in the case could have been properly introduced, the prosecutor used illegal tactics, withheld evidence could have impacted a jury decision, or the judge could have incorrectly instructed the jury. There are many options that could lead to an appeal in a case, and that’s why it’s always important to keep your options open when appealing a court conviction.
Your Options for Appealing
If you have a strong case for an appeal, and if you wish to proceed, contact our team, and we’ll help you get the ball rolling. Our talented team will begin the process of crafting a brief to present to a panel of judges in the appellate court. It should be noted that it’s very important to act quickly because the appeal must be filed within 30 days of the initial decision. The basic steps to appeal a criminal conviction are as follows:
- Notice of appeal filed
- Gathering of evidence for the appeal
- Opening brief
- Reply brief
- Oral arguments
Appealing a Criminal Case and the Process
The process of appealing a criminal conviction or sentence can be quite complex. Appellate courts will examine the proceedings of the original case, rather than the case’s particulars, while the appeals process deals with very technical aspects of the law.
In any case, an appeal must show clearly that errors were made in handling your case. This appeal must show that these errors significantly impacted the final decision that leads to the conviction.
As we previously mentioned, the filing of a notice of appeal must be done immediately. If not, you run the risk of missing the filing date, and the sentence must be carried out.
The next step is a full review of the trial record, down to the nitty and gritty details of how it all went down in court. This brief outlines why you are appealing the decision, and the errors that impacted your conviction or sentencing.
In the appeals process, the opposing attorney will also file a brief. Their brief will outline as to why a conviction or sentence should not be changed or overturned. Your attorney will review the respondent’s brief, and write a reply brief addressing these arguments.
And finally, there will be more oral arguments. These arguments will be presented to a panel of judges in the appellate court. Your attorney will present the key points from the brief and will answer questions presented by the panel.
The oral arguments are typically not as extensive as the proceedings in the original trial, but the skill with which this aspect is handled is of extreme importance. Upon completion of the process, the panel will review all information, and issue a decision in writing.