In 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 Redwood City, California criminal appeal 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, California criminal appeal lawyer team 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.
Speak to an experienced Criminal Appeals 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 our firm today to learn how our Redwood City, California criminal appeal lawyer team can help you. We look forward to learning more about your case.