6 Crucial Steps in the Criminal Appeals Process

Going through a trial is scary enough. And if you were convicted? You probably feel like your life is over. But there’s a light at the end of the “tunnel of appeals”.

If you feel like a legal error was made during your trial, then you may be eligible to file an appeal.

The Criminal Appeals Process in Florida: A Brief Overview

Most people are more familiar with how your trial court proceeds as opposed to an appeals case. In your trial court the ultimate purpose of a criminal appeal attorney is to determine the facts that are disputed after a trial.

An appeals court, however, only looks at issues of addressing and interpreting the law, applying it to the facts that have already been found in the trial court.

Also read about the laws and guidelines surrounding the criminal appeals process in Florida here.

An appeal is typically filed in the following chronological steps:

1. Notice of Appeal – If either party is unhappy with the decision of a trial court, he or she is eligible to initiate a first level appeal by filing a notice of appeal.

Appeals can only be taken from final judgements or orders. There are limited circumstances when an appeal can be brought from a non-final order. You typically have a short window of time, such as 30 days, to file an appeal.

2. Prepare the Record – The trial court clerk will then prepare the record which includes all transcripts of trials and court hearings for the previous case. It is the initiating party’s responsibility to ensure that the record has all the accurate documents and information included.

3. Organize Disclosures or Docketing Statements – The majority of appellate courts in Florida require appellants to file statements identifying all known parties involved in the case as well as the names of attorneys representing those individuals and the issues related to the appeal.

4. Affirm or Reverse: The Appellate Briefing – Judges at the appellate level primarily decide the cases based on the briefs submitted by the parties.

The legal brief lays out the arguments for why the decision of the previous courts should be affirmed or reversed. You are not eligible to submit any new evidence at the appeals stage as the appellate court is only eligible to review the facts in the trial court record.

5. Argument – Certain situations may lead to oral arguments before the judges. This initially starts with a presentation but can quickly turn into a question and answer session with the judge involved.

6. Reach a Decision – An appellate court will hand down a written decision regarding the appeal. These may be accompanied by an opinion from the judge about the reason for the decision.

The majority of decisions in Florida state appeals courts are handed down in less than six months after an oral argument has been presented and less than one year after the appeal has been initiated.

What if My Appeal Was Denied?

There are additional steps that may follow depending on the outcome of the decision. Your criminal defense lawyer in West Palm Beach can tell you more about how these appeals continue and what options you have if your appeal was denied at this particular stage.

How a Criminal Appeal Attorney in West Palm Beach Can Guide You

Having a knowledgeable attorney help you with this process and guide you through each stage can make it less nerve wracking. Make sure you hire an attorney who is familiar with the appeals process.

It may be a good idea to hire a new attorney once another criminal defense lawyers have handled your initial case, since the appeals process is quite different and may benefit from the fresh perspective and legal analysis of an experienced criminal appeal attorney in West Palm Beach.

Visit here to get started with a criminal defense lawyer in West Palm Beach.

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