So you’ve been convicted of a crime—now what? If you believe that you were wrongly convicted, or if there were errors made during your trial, you can appeal the decision of the court. Below are five things that you should know about appeals and the appeals process:
- Appeals are not a retrial. This is one of the most straightforward things that you need to know about appeals, yet it is still one of the most misunderstood aspects of appeals. Most people wrongly assume that with an appeal, you are getting a new trial for your case. This is not true. An appeal is a review of your previous trial to see whether or not any legal mistakes took place that would have altered the outcome of your trial. A successful appeal shows that there was sufficient lack of evidence to gain the conviction, or there were mistakes that were made that affected the outcome of the trial.
- The details are important. Because appeals are not new trials, it is important to focus on a few things rather than the case as a whole; if you can prove that there was an error that drastically altered the perception of the judge or jury, or one of the facts of the case turned out to be false, you could successfully appeal your case.
- Most appeals are settled without oral arguments. Sometimes, an appeal will make it to an oral argument, presented in front of a panel of judges. This often gives clients a better chance at winning an appeal, although it is not necessary to do so, but often the appeal does not make it to this point. Instead, appeals are settled with briefs, or written summaries of the facts of the case as well as persuasive content as to why the conviction should be overturned.
- Criminal appeals take a long time. The appeals process can be slow, and while there are immediate deadlines for filing an appeal, the appeal itself can take months or even years. It is important that you are patient with your appeal and understand that it takes time to review and process not only your appeal, but the appeals of other convicted individuals as well.
- If you lose your appeal, you have other outlets. While it is unfortunate to lose an appeal, there are other avenues you can follow, including appealing higher up the chain, either to the Court of Appeal or the California Supreme Court, for California residents.
There is a lot that goes into the appeals process, and it is important that you understand appeals before you file for one yourself. If you have questions about the appeals process, or if you are looking for an attorney to handle your appeal, contact our office today to schedule a consultation. Our attorneys have years of experience handling federal appeals and can give you the best chance at a favorable outcome.