The Role of a Criminal Appeal Attorney

If you or a loved one has been convicted of a crime, it’s only natural to wonder if the legal process was fair or if errors were made. This is where a skilled criminal appeal attorney can help review the case and determine the best path forward. As legal experts specializing in appeal law, criminal appeal attorneys play a critical role in the justice system by ensuring legal rights were properly protected initially or seeking to correct mistakes after the fact.

Evaluating Potential Errors or Issues

The first major task for a criminal appeal attorney is a thorough review of the entire legal case file, including transcripts from hearings and trials. They will scrutinize every aspect to identify potential issues or errors that occurred during the original legal proceedings against their client. This could involve issues with evidence procedures, jury selection, constitutional violations, improper jury instructions, harsh sentencing, and more. It is the job of the criminal appeal attorney to notice even small technical errors other attorneys may miss.

Developing Strong Arguments

Once the criminal appeal attorney has identified one or more substantial legal issues with the original trial or sentencing, they must then develop strong arguments based on appeal law. This involves citing applicable sections from statutes and precedence from previous appellate court rulings. Powerful legal writing is essential to clearly convey why a mistake was made and how it unfairly prejudiced the outcome against the appellant. Citing rules or guidelines the trial court should have followed but allegedly did not is key.

Petitioning the Appeals Court

With thorough legal arguments in hand, the criminal appeal attorney can then file an appeal on the client’s behalf with the applicable appellate court. This often involves written briefs outlining the key issues, but oral arguments may also take place before a panel of appellate judges. It is the job of the criminal appeal attorney to advocate passionately for their client and convince the appeals court that a new trial or resentencing is warranted due to reversible error.

Potential Outcomes and Next Steps

In many criminal appeal cases, the attorney’s arguments are persuasive and the appeals court agrees a mistake was made, leading to overturning the original conviction or reducing the sentence. However, appeal denials are also common if no substantial errors are found. If denied, the criminal appeal attorney may consider additional options like petitioning for review by a higher state supreme court or filing a petition for post-conviction relief based on things like new evidence or ineffective counsel claims. Hiring an experienced criminal appeal attorney gives clients the best chance to challenge potentially unfair or incorrect rulings.

When to Consult a Criminal Appeal Attorney

The time limit to file an initial appeal is usually 30-90 days after sentencing, depending on jurisdiction. While it’s best to speak to a criminal appeal attorney as soon as possible, it’s never too late to appeal based on certain issues. Some key circumstances that may warrant retaining a criminal appeal attorney include:Challenging a conviction based on insufficient evidence, improper jury instructions, or other due process violations.Appealing a sentence that seems disproportionate to the crime or an offender’s history.Disputing a conviction based on newly discovered evidence, witness recantations, or claims of prosecutorial misconduct.Appealing the denial of a motion for a new trial based on errors made during original proceedings.Filing a habeas corpus petition arguing ineffective assistance from the original defense attorney.By thoroughly reviewing the case for issues and developing compelling legal arguments, a skilled criminal appeal attorney gives clients the best opportunity to potentially overturn wrongful convictions or excessive sentences obtained in error. Their expertise in appellate law is invaluable for ensuring a fair appeal process.

How Brownstone Law Can Help

Our team of criminal appeal attorneys at Brownstone Law has decades of combined experience handling appeals in both state and federal court systems. We will carefully scrutinize your entire case record to search for any potential legal issues worthy of appeal. If appeals options exist, we will zealously advocate on your behalf before the appellate panel.