March 6, 2010 By Paul Wallin

If you have a loved one that has been convicted of a crime in California, you may be wondering how you can overturn the conviction and continue fighting your family member’s case. You have probably heard that you can appeal the conviction or that you can file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. You might also be wondering what the difference is between the two.

There are several differences between an appeal and a writ of habeas corpus. Both are part of the appellate process. The primary difference is found in the reason why you are using the appellate process. Appeals are used to correct errors that occurred during the case. In an appeal, the appellate courts only consider what they can find within the “four corners” of the file. They will not consider any new evidence. If you think that the trial judge made some legal error during the course of the criminal case, then you will want to file an appeal. An appeal is not used if you just want another stab at proving innocence in front of a jury or judge.

A writ of habeas corpus, on the other hand, can be used if you want the appellate court to consider evidence that the trial judge might not have had. The habeas petition is for situations when a legal error occurred, as we say, outside the “four corners” of the court file. To win a habeas petition, you have to prove that the legal error that occurred actually resulted in a loss of the defendant’s rights.

It is sometimes difficult to know whether or not you need to file an appeal or a writ of habeas corpus. In fact, sometimes both need to be filed. Before you proceed with either, you should also consult a knowledgeable California appeals criminal defense lawyer who handles appeals and writs of habeas corpus. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 40 years of experience in handling all types of criminal matters. Our attorneys have extensive knowledge of the appellate process. Call us today at (888) 749-0034 or visit us on our website at We will be there when you call.

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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