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What Are the Grounds for Appeal in a Criminal Case?

After a criminal conviction and sentencing, the legal case may not be completely over. Criminal defendants have the right to file an appeal after an adverse outcome. However, there are limited grounds to file an appeal. The basis for filing an appeal could include:

  • Original trial judge made an error of law
  • Improper jury instructions
  • Prosecutor misconduct
  • Juror misconduct
  • Evidence did not support a guilty verdict
  • Ineffective assistance of counsel

When the defendant in a criminal case files an appeal, the defendant is the appellant and the state is the respondent. The appeal goes to a higher court for review. The higher court may decide in favor of the defendant or agree with the lower court’s ruling. The appellate court judge or panel of judges could also “remand” the case, or send it back to the trial courts.

How Long Do You Have to Appeal a Case?

There is generally a limited amount of time to file an appeal. Before filing the appeal, the court has to make a final determination, after any post-trial motions have been decided. After the judgment is entered, the deadline to file a notice of appeal begins ticking. The time limit to file an appeal depends on the state. Some states only allow 14 days to file a notice of appeal after entry of judgment. If you file an appeal too late, you may lose out on your constitutional rights to challenge the conviction.

Is New Evidence Allowed in an Appeal?

The court of appeals generally does not consider new evidence even if the evidence helps your case. An appeal is not a chance to try the case all over again. The appeal is generally focused on a few narrow issues of alleged legal errors in the lower court. If there is newly discovered evidence, the defendant may be able to file a motion for a new trial, in the interests of justice.

How Do You Win a Criminal Appeal?

Appeals cases can be more legally complex than trial court cases. A successful appeal may be based on extensive research and preparation. In general, the preparation for a possible appeal begins long before the case ends. If an appeal is based on judicial errors or problems with the trial, your criminal defense attorney should raise the issues at the time, file motions based on the errors, or object on the record.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Appeal a Case?

There are generally much stricter limitations for defendants representing themselves in a criminal appeal. In most cases, there is a much greater chance of success when using an experienced appellate attorney. There are strict restrictions and requirements for taking a criminal case through the court of appeals. Criminal appeal attorneys are familiar with the appeals process and can advise you of your options in filing an appeal.

What Happens If I Lose an Appeal?

If you lose an appeal, you may still be able to appeal the appellate court’s decision to the state’s next highest court. The state’s highest court can generally review appeals of any of the state’s lower courts, including the appeals court. In some cases, the criminal defendant can take their case to the Supreme Court, which is the highest court in the country. However, the Supreme Court can decide whether or not to grant a petitioner’s request to hear the case.

How Much Does an Appellate Lawyer Cost

The cost of an appeal can range depending on the case. It can cost more to appeal a complex case with multiple legal issues. The longer the litigation and trial go on, the more the cost can increase. The best way to find out how much an appeal could cost in your case is to contact a criminal appeals lawyer. An experienced criminal appellate attorney may be able to give you an estimate based on hourly billing or a flat fee.

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