What Is A Criminal Appeal?

A criminal appeal is a legal argument presented by your lawyer on your behalf to a higher court, such as the California Court of Appeals, stating that mistakes or legal errors were made during the criminal process in lower courts, which impacted your ability to receive a fair trial. The point of a criminal appeal is to reverse the previous conviction or sentencing in your case.  If this happens you would be entitled to a new trial. If your appeal is granted and at that time you are serving a jail or prison sentence this could lead to you being released from custody. 

During the criminal appeals process, a panel of judges reviews the manner in which your case was handled by the trial court and decides whether errors were made. In some cases the court of appeals may find errors were made but that they were not sufficiently serious to warrant you receiving a new trial. However, in other cases, the court of appeals can reverse your conviction if they feel the errors that were made could have prejudicially impacted the guilty verdict or verdicts in your case. 

Filing a Notice of Appeal

Under California law, if you are convicted of a felony offense, you have the right to file a notice of appeal within 60 days of your sentencing (the judgment).  For a misdemeanor conviction, you only have 30 days from the date of sentencing to file a notice of appeal. If you feel a mistake has been made in your criminal trial or the trial of a loved one and are interested in learning more about your appellate rights it is important for you to speak with an experienced criminal appeal lawyer as soon as possible. With over 40 years of experience handling criminal appeals, our highly skilled attorneys at Wallin & Klarich can help you determine if there are legal or factual grounds to file a criminal appeal.  

Grounds For Criminal Appeal | You May Be Eligible

Filing a criminal appeal in California may seem like an impossible and complicated process. In fact, it is a very elaborate process, requiring that you retain an experienced criminal appeals lawyer to fight for you. If you retain Wallin & Klarich to help you then you will have over 40 years of experience and skill on your side to provide you with effective legal counsel and increase your chances of success. Throughout our 40+ years of successfully representing clients all over Southern California, we have identified many grounds for appeals that often help our clients achieve the best possible results. Some effective grounds for appeal that we have identified include (but are not limited to): 

Insufficient Evidence

One common way a skilled criminal appeal lawyer may attempt to have your conviction reversed is to show the court that the evidence the prosecution presented was not sufficient to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Prosecutorial Misconduct

At every criminal trial, there are two sides: the prosecution and the defense. While it is your lawyer’s job to represent your legal interest, it is the prosecution’s job to represent the People of the State of California. Prosecutors are allowed to aggressively pursue a conviction in the interest of the People. However, prosecutors may cross legal boundaries and do things during the trial that were legally impermissible. When this happens the court of appeals may reverse the conviction based upon prosecutorial misconduct.  

Some examples of prosecutorial misconduct that our criminal appeal attorneys have uncovered in past cases include:

  • Referencing evidence that is inadmissible or not allowed by the court
  • Intimidating defense witnesses 
  • Expressing a personal opinion about a witness’ credibility or about your guilt 
  • Unlawfully  vouching for a witness 
  • Improperly commenting on a defendant’s decision to invoke his or her Miranda rights or asking the defendant why he or she invoked their right not to speak to law enforcement when asked to do so
  • Improperly commenting on the fact that the defendant exercised his or her right to assistance at trial 
  • Improperly commenting on the fact that the defendant chose not to testify at trial 
  • Withholding exculpatory evidence (evidence that supports your innocence) 
  • Withholding impeachment evidence 
  • Arguing in a manner that appeals to the passions or prejudices of the jury 
  • Misrepresenting the law to the jury
  • Excluding jurors of a certain gender or race to ensure they aren’t on the jury 
  • Improperly questioning the defendant 

These are just some of the ways that prosecutors can commit misconduct. If you believe that prosecutors in your case committed prosecutorial misconduct in order to convict you of a crime, your criminal appeal lawyers may have solid grounds for appeal. You should seek the help of our highly skilled Orange County criminal appeal lawyers at Wallin & Klarich immediately.

Juror Misconduct

Jurors are sworn in and take an oath to follow the law. This includes obeying the judge’s instructions given during the trial. Unfortunately, juries do not always follow those instructions. When this occurs, it is considered “juror misconduct.” If it can be shown that juror misconduct was committed and that misconduct prejudiced the defense, it can result in your conviction being overturned by the appellate court.

Some examples of juror misconduct include:

  • Speaking to other people about the case 
  • Speaking to other jurors about the case 
  • A juror refusing to deliberate 
  • A juror considering evidence from outside sources 

Judicial Error

A judicial error is an invalid decision or improper action taken by the trial judge. Some examples of judicial errors that could result in a successful criminal appeal include:

  • Refusal to exclude improper prosecution evidence
  • Improper jury instructions 
  • Showing bias in favor of the prosecution, prosecution witnesses, or against the defense or defense witnesses
  • Improper denial of a motion to suppress evidence for and unlawful  search and seizure 

Judicial error is one of the most common ways to win your appeal. Speak to our criminal appellate lawyers at Wallin & Klarich today if you believe a judicial error occurred in your case.

Ineffective Assistance Of Counsel (IAC)

“Ineffective assistance of counsel” essentially means that your criminal defense lawyer was ineffective in defending you. However, it is not enough to just say that your lawyer was ineffective. You need an experienced criminal appeals lawyer to support the claim that your lawyer engaged in conduct that was beneath the required legal standard for a criminal defense attorney defending a person in a  criminal case.

Ineffective assistance of counsel is a complicated area of law and will require you to retain a highly-skilled attorney to look into all aspects of this possible ground for a reversal of a criminal conviction.  Below are some ways the trial lawyer can be found to have been “incompetent” in his defense of a criminal client. 

  • Failure to investigate the case 
  • Failure to make a critical motion that was supported by the facts and the law
  • Failure to call a key defense witness to testify at trial
  • Failure to subpoena documents that would have been key to the defense
  • Failure to properly advise a defendant of the consequences of a guilty plea 

Plain Error Vs. Harmless Error In A Criminal Appeal Case

In order to win a criminal appeal, your lawyer must show that not only was an error made but also that the error impacted your case and your conviction may not have occurred if not for the error. The appellate court must decide whether the error made in your case is a “reversible error” or a “harmless error.” 

A “reversible error” is an error so severe that a reversal of your conviction is warranted.   The United States Supreme Court has ruled the following errors to require automatic reversal of a criminal conviction:

  • Depriving a defendant of legal counsel
  • Lack of an impartial trial judge
  • Unlawful exclusion of jurors on the basis of race
  • Denial of the right to self-representation at trial
  • Denial of the right to a public trial
  • An invalid reasonable doubt instruction to the jury

However, if the error that occurred in your case does not meet the requirement for a “reversible error,” the appellate court will conduct a “harmless error” analysis. This process is complex and widely varies according to the type of error being claimed. For a straightforward explanation of what to expect during the criminal appeals process contact the experienced criminal appeal lawyers at Wallin & Klarich today! 

Hire The Best Criminal Appeal Defense Attorney | How We Can Help You

When dealing with a process as complex and serious as a criminal appeal, it is crucial to hire the best attorney you can find. At the Wallin & Klarich criminal appeals defense firm, we understand how life-altering a criminal conviction can be. We believe that there are four (4) key aspects that you, the client, should look for when hiring an attorney. 

  1. Experience
  2. Communication
  3. Track record
  4. Ethos – Credibility

Wallin & Klarich | 40+ Years of Experience Defending Criminal Appeals

Here at Wallin & Klarich, our team of highly-trained attorneys have over 40+ years of experience representing clients seeking criminal appeals. This experience does not only mean that we are competent in the ins and outs of this legal process, but equally important, we know our way around the local courthouses and we know the local prosecutors. Not only do we know what we bring to the table, but we also understand what the other side will bring to the table. This sometimes overlooked, and often underappreciated knowledge makes it easier to craft a defense that gives you the highest chance of success possible. 

24/7 Communication With Your Attorney | The Wallin & Klarich Way

Cases are won in the courtroom, but made in the office. At Wallin & Klarich, we believe that communication and transparency are vital keys to a successful case, especially when you’re facing a legal process as complex as a criminal appeal. With all the paperwork and legality of a criminal appeal, it is common for clients to get lost in the legal process and only have a vague idea of what is going on in their case. By keeping an open line of communication with our clients and walking side-by-side through all the steps of the case, we have found that our clients are not only happier but receive a better outcome when communication is kept at the forefront of our efforts. 

Give us a call at (877) 4-NO-JAIL and let’s figure out if there are, in fact, grounds to file for a criminal appeal. 

Track Record of Success | Wallin & Klarich History of Winning Cases

Words mean nothing if the outcome of a case is subpar. We are confident enough in our abilities to deliver the best possible outcome in your case that we invite you hear the results we were able to achieve for our prior clients

Reputation & Ethos | Wallin & Klarich A Reputation You Want on Your Side

With an abundance of attorneys practicing in every area throughout California, it is often difficult to separate the noteworthy ones from the average. Luckily, you don’t have to. Throughout our years of handling criminal appeals cases and other high-stakes crimes, the attorneys at Wallin Klarich have made appearances all throughout television, newspapers, and websites. 

criminal appeal lawyer
Speak to a skilled criminal appeal lawyer now!

At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled and knowledgeable criminal appeal lawyers have been successfully representing clients in appeal matters for more than 40 years. We’ve helped thousands of people in their time of legal need, and we can help you now.

With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal appeal lawyer available near you no matter where you work or live.

Contact our law firm today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation regarding your case. We will get through this together.

Frequently Asked Questions

In most cases, the answer is NO. A person no longer has the absolute right to bail after he or she has been convicted of a felony. The court has the discretion to grant or deny bail at that time.

You cannot “appeal” your conviction if you plead guilty. However, you could consider filing a writ of habeas corpus if you believe your lawyer was incompetent in terms of his or her representation of you.

The appeals process can take a long time. The court reporter and court clerk must both prepare the “record” of all testimony taken and documents filed in the case. They must then submit it to the appellate lawyer and the Attorney General. Then the appellate lawyer has 30 days to file the opening brief. However, in many cases, they ask for an extension. After they file the opening brief the Attorney General has 30 days to file their response, but they often as for an extension. Finally, the appellate lawyer has 30 days to file a “reply brief”, but they can ask for an extension. Then the court of appeals begins to review all of the written documents and sets the matter for oral argument. Then after an oral argument, the court of appeals will meet and then issue its written ruling. It is not unusual for it to take from 9 months to a year for the appeals court to render its decision after the notice of appeal has been filed.

The Attorney General of California represents the State of California in all appeals of felony matters.

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