What is the appeals process? How do I start it? Do I have to do it alone?
The appeals process is…
Anyone convicted of a crime has the right to fight their conviction. This is what the appeals process is for. The criminal court system is not perfect. Mistakes happen. By filing an appeal, you may get a second chance to defend yourself.
An appeal starts by filing a petition with a higher court. To do this, you need to show that an error in law application occurred during your trial resulting in your conviction. That error may also have occurred during sentencing.
Do I get a new trial?
Not right away. An appeal is not a trial. It is just an opportunity for the appellate court to review your case. From there, the appellate court will decide if you get a new trial, to overturn your conviction or sentencing, or uphold your conviction or sentencing.
File sooner rather than later
If you wish to appeal your conviction or sentencing, you only have so many days to file the motion in court. This is generally 30 days from the date of the ruling. It takes time to put together a brief, so it is something to get started on as soon as possible rather than wait until the last minute.
Is it worth it?
Not all appeals are successful. There is no other way to put it. This does not mean that it is not worth the effort. You and your legal counsel can review your case in order to decide if there is reason to go through the appeals process.
If convicted of a crime or sentenced harshly, do not lose heart. Your case may not be done yet, even if it feels that way. With the assistance of a criminal defense attorney with experience handling appeals, you can — if doing so is deemed appropriate — start the appeals process and continue fighting to protect yourself and your future interests.