January 16, 2024 By Paul Wallin

The Ins and Outs of Criminal Appeals: When and How to Challenge Convictions


Appealing a criminal conviction is a legal process in which a defendant who has been found guilty of a crime in a court of law asks a higher (“appellate”) court to review specific aspects of their case. The purpose of an appeal is not to rehear or retry the case, but to evaluate whether legal errors occurred that significantly affected the trial’s outcome. These errors might include issues of due process, incorrect instructions given to the jury, or the improper admission of evidence. If the appellate court deems that such errors did occur, it can reverse the conviction, modify the sentence, or order a new trial. Be aware, however, that the appeal process is not a quick one. It requires thorough preparation, strict adherence to deadlines, and detailed understanding of the law and legal procedures. 

Above all, this is why an experienced lawyer is critical in navigating this complex process, especially in a jurisdiction like California with its own specific laws and procedures. Choosing Wallin & Klarich to represent your case puts you in a better position to receive the best outcome for your case. We have over 40 years of experience in Southern California. Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL  for your free consultation!

How Does the Appeals Process Work?

Let’s take a closer look at what this process entails specifically in California. It’s important to note that the appeals process can differ from state to state, so it’s crucial to understand the specific procedures in your jurisdiction.

In California, an appeal is not a retrial of the case. Instead, it is a request for a higher court to review the decision made in the trial court and determine if any legal errors were made during the trial. This means that new evidence cannot be presented during an appeal.

Before filing an appeal in California, there are certain requirements that must be met. First, the defendant must have been convicted of a crime and sentenced by a trial court. The appeal must also be filed within 60 days of the judgment or order being appealed.

In order to file an appeal, a Notice of Appeal must be completed and submitted to the appropriate appellate court. This document includes information such as the name of the appellant (the person filing the appeal), the trial court’s name and case number, and a statement of the issues being appealed.

Once the Notice of Appeal is submitted, the appellant must also submit an Appellant’s Opening Brief. This document outlines the legal arguments and evidence that will be presented to support their appeal. The respondent (usually the prosecution) then has a certain amount of time to respond with a Brief in Opposition.

The appellate court will then review all written arguments and may also hear oral arguments from both sides. After considering all of the evidence and arguments, the appellate court will issue a written decision either affirming or reversing the trial court’s decision. If the conviction is reversed, the case may be sent back to the trial court for a new trial.

It’s important to note that appealing a criminal conviction can be a complex and time-consuming process. It’s recommended to seek the assistance of a qualified criminal defense attorney who has experience with appeals in California. They can guide you through the process and help present your case in the most effective way possible.

So, if you or someone you know is considering appealing a criminal conviction in California, make sure to do your research and consult with a knowledgeable attorney before proceeding. Remember, understanding the specific procedures and requirements in your jurisdiction is crucial for a successful appeal. 

When Should You Appeal a Conviction?

Deciding to appeal a criminal conviction is often based on the specific circumstances of each case. A valid reason to appeal your conviction in California, or any jurisdiction for that matter, is when you believe there were legal errors made during your trial that had a significant impact on the outcome. This could include instances where the court misapplied the law, there was insufficient evidence to support the guilty verdict, or there were procedural errors such as a violation of due process rights.

For example, if the judge did not instruct the jury properly according to the law, if your defense attorney provided ineffective assistance, if certain evidence was improperly admitted or excluded, or if juror misconduct occurred, these are all valid grounds for an appeal. It’s crucial to understand that an appeal is not about retrying the case entirely or disputing the facts; rather, it’s about addressing legal mistakes that were made during the original trial.

Remember, the appeal process is rigorous and requires thorough legal analysis. If you believe there were significant legal errors in your case, it is strongly recommended to consult with a legal professional experienced in criminal appeals. They can help evaluate the likelihood of success on appeal and guide you through the complexities of the appellate process in California. Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have the experience you need. We offer exceptional service, experience, and affordable payment options to help you manage the cost of hiring a defense attorney. Call our office today for a free consultation!

Contact Wallin & Klarich Today 

If you or a loved one are wanting to appeal a criminal conviction, you need an aggressive attorney to fight for your freedom. With 40+ years of experience, our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have helped thousands of clients win their cases or get their charges reduced to a lesser degree. We know the most effective defenses to argue on your behalf, and we will do everything in our power to help you achieve the best possible result in your case. 

You may not be aware of all your options. Calling our office costs you nothing, but picking up the phone could be the difference between years in prison and years of freedom. Let our skilled attorneys examine your case to find the best way to avoid prison.Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.

AUTHOR: Paul Wallin

Paul Wallin is one of the most highly respected attorneys in Southern California. His vast experience, zealous advocacy for his clients and extensive knowledge of many areas of the law make Mr. Wallin a premiere Southern California attorney. Mr. Wallin founded Wallin & Klarich in 1981. As the senior partner of Wallin & Klarich, Mr. Wallin has been successfully representing clients for more than 30 years. Clients come to him for help in matters involving assault and battery, drug crimes, juvenile crimes, theft, manslaughter, sex offenses, murder, violent crimes, misdemeanors and felonies. Mr. Wallin also helps clients with family law matters such as divorce and child custody.

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