December 19, 2013 By Stephen Klarich

5 Things You Should Immediately Do if You Want to Appeal a Felony Conviction in California

If you are found guilty after a trial, you have the right to appeal your convictions. There are many reasons for an appeal of a criminal case. However, appealing a felony conviction is a difficult process best left in the hands of an experienced criminal appeals attorney.

There are also important deadlines that apply to appeals. If you miss the deadline, your appeal will most likely be dismissed:

  • For misdemeanor and infraction cases, you must file a “Notice of Appeal” within 30 days of the date of the judgment or order.
  • For felony cases, you must file a “Notice of Appeal — Felony (Defendant)” within 60 days of the date of the judgment or order.

An Appeal is Not a New Trial

appeal a felony conviction
If you want to appeal a felony conviction, it is important to understand the legal process you are facing.

Keep in mind that the appeal is not a new trial. The appellate court can review the trial record (testimony and evidence) to see if the trial court made a legal error. However, the appellate court does not decide the facts of the case as the judge or jury in the trial court does.

Your appeal can be successful if:

  • You demonstrate that there was not enough evidence in your trial to justify the verdict or judgment; and/or
  • You demonstrate there were mistakes of law during or before the trial that were harmful to your case.

If you believe there was not enough evidence in your trial to justify the judgment, the appellate court will review the record and decide if there was enough evidence to support your conviction.

If you believe mistakes of law were made, the appellate court will hold a hearing to hear reasons why you (the “appellant”) think your conviction was wrong. Your opponent, the people of the State of California (the “respondent”), also has the opportunity to argue that the judgment against you should be upheld.

To appeal a felony conviction, you should take these five steps immediately:

1. Hire an experienced criminal attorney if you want to appeal a felony conviction.

Successfully appealing a felony conviction takes considerable experience. You should speak to an attorney who regularly practices at the appellate level. Additionally, you should consider hiring an attorney who is familiar with the type of charge for which you were convicted.

2. File a timely “Notice of Appeal – Felony”

The next step in a felony appeal is to file a timely “Notice of Appeal – Felony” with the Court of Appeal. Barring some natural disaster or other public emergency, you must file a Notice of Appeal within 60 days of the judgment or order that you are appealing. Late appeals will not be allowed.

You must also serve notice on the respondent, represented by the California Attorney General’s office.

3. Make a Request for Bail and/or a Stay of Execution

After serving Notice of Appeal if you were sentenced to county jail or state prison, you may be entitled to be released from custody. You should ask your lawyer to request that the trial court:

  • Set or reduce bail; or
  • Release you pending your appeal; and/or
  • Stay execution of a probationary sentence if the judge ordered you to serve a period of probation.

If you believe the court unfairly denied any of these requests, you may appeal those issues to the Court of Appeal as well.

4. Pay Attention to the Rules of the Court

All California court jurisdictions have set rules mandating set time limits and proper procedures. The appellate rules of court are chaptered under Title 8 of the California Rules of Court.

You and/or your attorney must follow the rules in order to ensure that your appeal is not dismissed for being procedurally defective.

5. Obtain Copies of Court Records

A felony appeal is not a new trial. The merits of your claim(s) are limited to the trial record in the lower court. To properly prepare for the appeals process, you will want to collect and review court records important to your case, such as:

  • A clerk’s transcript: including the accusatory pleading and any amendments, exhibits (evidence), written communications from the judge, jury instructions and court minutes; and
  • A court reporter’s transcript: the official written transcription of all oral remarks made during trial proceedings.

What Happens when You Appeal?

The parties to an appeal submit written “briefs” to the appellate court, accompanied by official trial court records and any exhibits that were used at trial. Oral arguments may be scheduled. Arguments are usually fairly short in duration, focusing on whether mistakes of fact or law were made at your trial.

If you lose your appeal, either party may elect to petition for review in the California Supreme Court. However, there is no right to review unless your conviction is for a capital case (life without parole or death penalty sentences), in which case review by the California Supreme Court is automatic.

Contact Wallin & Klarich if You are Interested in Appealing a Felony Conviction

If you or someone you care about has been convicted of a felony, it is imperative that you contact an experienced criminal appeals attorney at Wallin & Klarich now. You only have 60 days to file a Notice of Appeal. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 40 years of experience representing clients eligible to appeal their felony convictions.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, the skilled and aggressive criminal appeals attorneys at Wallin & Klarich will be able to determine what legal errors were made at your trial and persuasively argue that your claims have merit. Our goal is to get your conviction overturned and a just result in your case.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation. We will be there when you call.

AUTHOR: Stephen Klarich

Stephen Klarich is a partner at Wallin & Klarich and expert in the field of sex crimes. For over thirty years, Stephen Klarich has been handling criminal cases and matters involving sex offenses. With an unparalleled knowledge of sex crimes defense, Stephen Klarich protects his clients’ rights. Stephen Klarich has experienced significant success in obtaining a Certificate of Rehabilitation or Governor’s Pardon for his clients. Thousands of clients have put their trust in Stephen Klarich and the attorneys at Wallin & Klarich in their time of legal need.

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