You or your loved one has just lost a case at trial then your attorney says you have a right to appeal the judgment.
So, you hear him talk of taking your case to the court of appeal, but in your mind, you don’t know what that means. Hence here are the most important things to know about criminal appeals.
An appeal is not a trial
You won’t be tasked to convince a jury that you’re innocent. That was already done at the trial, and the appellate works differently. Hence you cannot go through the appeals process hoping to produce new evidence or witnesses.
The purpose of an appeal is to give the judges or jury in a higher court an opportunity to review your sentencing. Perhaps the prosecutor left out critical evidence during the trial or used evidence that was irrelevant to the case.
That means you got an unfair judgment. Two juries or judges can have divergent opinions regarding your case. Hence, by appealing to a more superior court, you can get a better sentence, a re-trial, or a dismissal.
The kind of lawyer you have matters a lot
An appeal is like a debate, where your lawyer has to convince the judge that you didn’t get justice due to specific flaws in the trial procedure. This can be messy and complicated without the right expert on your side.
Therefore, you need a lawyer who knows how to win an appeal in court. That is someone with excellent communication skills, an impeccable knowledge of the law, and a pleasant persona. Above all, ensure the person has your best interests at heart.
Though you feel tempted to retain the lawyer you had during the trial, you need a fresh mind to look at your case. Appeals attorneys have the training and experience to find the tiniest errors in what appears to be a perfect case.
A notice of appeal is not an appeal
You file a notice of appeal within ten days after the sentencing. You can have the lawyer from your trial submit it in case you don’t have money to get a new attorney in ten days. Kindly, make sure he knows how to file an appeal in a criminal case. However, if you have the cash, get the right lawyer right away.
The notice serves to inform all parties involved that you’re going to another court to seek a re-trial, another sentence, or a dismissal. This notice signals the beginning of the appellate process, which can take many months.
The devil is in the details
One of the most important things to know about criminal appeals is that every detail matters. As the accused person, your responsibility is to tell the whole truth to your attorney. You do this before the trial begins.
However, in the process of an appeal, you cannot give fresh evidence. You can only review it. Thus, your lawyer must have an eye to see what went wrong during the trial. That is why you need the right expert for the job. Sometimes, the smallest error that the court clerk made will grant you a legitimate ground for dismissal.
Hence, to be on the safe side, choose a law firm that is well equipped so that you get more than one expert following your case from the start.
There’re many important things to know about criminal appeals, but the four listed above are the most essential. You don’t need to have the best lawyer in the city. You need the one that will handle your case with dignity, precision, and integrity.