Criminal Appeal Lawyer Redwood City, California
At The Morales Law Firm, a criminal appeal lawyer Redwood City, California residents turn to understands that with a criminal case, a guilty verdict seems like the end of the road – and sometimes, it is. But the criminal justice system also recognizes that mistakes can be made by prosecutors, judges, jurors and defense attorneys. Those mistakes (and sometimes intentionally bad actions) can deprive a defendant of his or her right to a fair trial and/or result in the wrong verdict.
In most cases, the proper avenue for fixing those mistakes is the criminal appeals process. In California, you can potentially appeal a verdict in serious felony cases, for which you’ll want to connect with a state and federal criminal defense lawyer Redwood City, CA residents trust. However, you can also appeal many kinds of misdemeanors and even infractions (such as traffic violations).
Even in more “minor” cases, you’ll likely benefit from working with an experienced lawyer from the Morales Law Firm. No matter how seemingly insignificant the conviction may be, risking the status of your criminal record is something you shouldn’t treat lightly. Instead, allow us to advocate on your behalf so that you’re placed in the best possible position for appeals-related success under the circumstances.
You Must Have a Valid Reason to Appeal
It is a common misconception that you can appeal your conviction simply because you disagree with the verdict. That’s not true. If this were the case, the legal system would come to a standstill because every convicted defendant would file an appeal.
Generally, you can only file an appeal if you can show that there was a problem with evidence, mistakes about the law or misconduct on the part of those involved. Here are some specific allegations that might be grounds for appeal:
- You were falsely arrested (no warrant or probable cause, violation of search and seizure laws, etc.)
- The judge improperly allowed certain evidence to be admitted or improperly denied the admission of certain evidence
- There was insufficient evidence to convict you of the crime
- You were not adequately represented by your defense attorney
- One or more prosecutors committed misconduct
- One or more jurors committed misconduct
- You received an improper sentence because the judge ignored sentencing rules
For the appeal to be granted, these errors or actions must have been serious enough to significantly impact the verdict. Harmless or minor errors are not grounds for appeal. Our Redwood City criminal appeal lawyer in CA can help you to understand whether there are valid grounds for appeal in your case.
Appellate Courts Only Judge the Facts of the Original Case
An appeals court does not retry your case. Instead, the court’s job is to review the trial record from the original trial to determine if mistakes or misconduct occurred. If mistakes or misconduct did occur and are deemed sufficiently serious, the appellate court will remedy the verdict in one of three ways:
- It will reverse (overturn) your conviction and dismiss your charges
- It will order a new trial (at the lower court level)
- It will remand the case (send it back) to the lower court with clear instructions on how to fix the matter at issue in the appeal (this is a common remedy when there have been sentencing errors)
Pay Attention to Time Constraints
If you want to appeal your case, you need to act relatively quickly. For misdemeanor and infraction cases, you have just 30 days from the date of judgement to file a “Notice of Appeal.” For felony cases, you have just 60 days.
The Steps in Pursuing a Criminal Appeal
We understand that a criminal conviction can dramatically change your life. It can influence your ability to get hired, and will surely add pressure to your daily life. So if you wereonvicted of a crime, then getting help from a lawyer is imperative. You may be facing jail time and other consequences, however, being convicted does not automatically mean that hope is lost. You do have a right to appeal your conviction, and with help from The Morales Law Firm, we can make this possible.
The first thing we will do is assess your conviction and let you know whether pursuing an appeal is worth your investment. If we conclude that it is, there are a few steps we will take towards reversing your conviction and winning a criminal appeal:
- Filing a Notice of Your Appeal: After choosing your lawyer, it will then be time to start the appeal process, and this entails filing a Notice of Appeal to the trial court. Based on whether you were convicted of an infraction, misdemeanor, or felony, you will file a corresponding appeal notice form to the court. If your conviction was a felony, it has to be submitted within 60 days after the date you were sentenced. If you were charged with an infraction or misdemeanor, you will have 30 days to submit your Notice of Appeal. So as you can see, responding to your conviction promptly is of the essence. If you miss the deadline, then you cannot fight your conviction.
- A Record on Appeal is Prepared: After an appeal is filed with help from your lawyer, the trial court clerk will prepare the Record on Appeal, and this consists of the reporter’s transcript and clerk’s transcript. The reporter’s transcript includes everything that was spoken during your trial by witnesses, lawyers, and the judge. The clerk’s transcript is a copy of each document that was filed related to your case.
Your lawyer from The Morales Law Firm will receive these transcripts and start the process of reviewing them in their entirety. It is our job to uncover legal errors that may have happened during your trial. Trust us when we say that this job is not for everyone, and only lawyers who have seasoned knowledge in criminal appeals should take this on. Transcripts can be hundreds or thousands of pages, and we will take the time to look at them each carefully. The goal of reading these documents is to use them to create the opening brief for your appeal.
- Oral Argument and Decision: The Court of Appeals will inform us when they are ready to hear oral arguments, and you are more than welcome to join your lawyer to hear what is said. Then, the Court of Appeals will meet together, discuss, and issue a written decision that will either reverse or affirm your conviction. If your conviction is reversed, the trial court will be notified and you will be entitled to another trial.
Speak To An Experienced Lawyer Today
Not every criminal defense lawyer is a good fit for appellate work. You need to hire an attorney with experience successfully appealing verdicts. Contact us today to learn how our Redwood City, California criminal appeal lawyer from The Morales Law Firm can help you.