Being convicted of a crime could be devastating. You could lose your job, your home, and worst of all, your freedom. You could be separated from friends and family for many years.
After a conviction, it is easy to think that there is nothing more you can do in your case. However, you should not give up on your case. You have a right to appeal your conviction, and you should immediately speak to an experienced criminal appeals attorney to discuss exercising that right.
What Does a Criminal Appeal Do?
If you are convicted in criminal court, you have the right to appeal the ruling to a higher court, such as the California Supreme Court.
When you appeal your conviction, your criminal appeals attorney is arguing that mistakes or legal errors were made during the criminal process in lower courts, and those mistakes did not allow you to have a fair trial.
If the court finds that legal errors impacted your case, your conviction could be reversed and your case will be sent back to lower courts. If your appeal is successful and the case is remanded to lower courts, prosecutors may:
- Appeal the decision made by the appellate court
- Request a new trial
- Attempt to negotiate a plea agreement; OR
- Decide to drop the charges completely
What prosecutors decide to do if you successfully appeal your conviction depends upon the circumstances of your case.
Timeline for Appealing a Conviction
You only have a certain amount of time after you have been convicted to file an appeal, and the clock begins to run on the day in which the judgment of the court is issued.
If you were convicted of a misdemeanor, you only have 30 days from the date of judgment to file an appeal with the appellate division of the court in which you were convicted. If you were convicted of a felony, you have 60 days from the date of sentencing.
There are very few exceptions to these rules. If you do not meet the deadline to file an appeal, you will likely lose your right to appeal.
An Appeal is Not a New Trial
There are a number of important differences between a trial and an appeal. The most important to remember is that an appeal is a review of the trial you already had instead of a new trial. This means that no new facts will be presented, and no new witnesses will be called. The only concern the appellate court will have is whether the trial was conducted properly in accordance with the laws of the State of California. This means that the grounds on which you base your appeal must be that the trial court made a mistake of law, not of fact.
The grounds for an appeal are therefore generally limited to the following:
- Evidence in the trial was improperly admitted or excluded
- The judge’s instructions to the jury were improper
- The judge made an error or abused his or her discretion in sentencing
- The prosecutor committed misconduct
- One or more jurors committed misconduct
- Your trial attorney acted incompetently
- The jury’s verdict was based on insufficient evidence
The last one needs explanation: How can you base your appeal on insufficient evidence if you are not allowed to present new evidence? While this may seem like you are asking the court to consider new evidence, an appeal based on insufficient evidence is in truth asking the court to review the evidence that was already presented in the case and determine that the evidence was not sufficient to meet each and every element of the crime for which you were convicted.
Contact the Appellate Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Right Away
Appeals are different than criminal trials, and require the help of an attorney who understands those differences. Hiring an experienced appellate attorney increases the chance of a successful appeal. At Wallin & Klarich, we have over 35 years of experience successfully handling appeal matters for people like you. Let our knowledgeable appellate attorneys help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance, and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich appellate attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.
Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.