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What to Know About Your Rights to Appeal a Conviction

Criminal Defense

After a conviction, you need to take action immediately if you intend to pursue further protection of your rights with the help of a lawyer. It’s not easy to find yourself in this situation, but the right lawyer is vital for filing an appeal.

A not guilty verdict on every charge will typically end a criminal case because the prosecution is not able to appeal an acquittal. However, if you have recently been handed a guilty verdict or if you are concerned about a conviction, this does not necessarily mean that the case is over.

You may appeal your decision in certain cases which is asking a higher court to reverse the conviction. This asks an appellate court to review the decision of the lower court and to change it. You can challenge the sentence or the conviction itself. A successful appeal will typically bring the case back to its initial stages but it can, in some cases, end a case altogether. The hierarchy of a state court consists of trial courts in appellate divisions, intermediate appellate courts with three judge panels and the highest Supreme Courts.

Convicted defendants have a right to an intermediate appellate court to review the initial decision so long as you comply with the statutory time limits for requesting an appeal. Some appeals such as those associated with infractions or misdemeanors could go to the appellate division of a superior court. A defendant must initiate a request for an appeal which is known as a brief, claiming that certain errors warrant reduction of a sentence or reversal of a conviction. The government will submit a responding brief and the appellate court will then hear oral arguments from both sides. This can take weeks or months for an appeal to move through these phases and the appellate court will then issue a written decision either reversing or upholding a decision.

Only certain issues will allow you to pursue an appeal and hiring the right criminal defense attorney is something that should be accomplished as soon as possible so that you understand your rights for pursuing an appeal and what you must do to protect your best interests going forward.



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