Can I Appeal My Conviction?

Can I Appeal My Conviction?

As soon as you have been found guilty, your first though may be “Can I appeal my conviction?” The answer is yes, but that appeal has to meet certain requirements before being allowed to proceed. You must have grounds (reasons) for an appeal and must present those grounds in a formal legal way. Individuals who want to proceed with an appeal must do so in a timely manner and according to court mandates. 

conviction appeal

First and foremost, it’s important to understand you can’t file an appeal just because you don’t like how your case was decided. If you’ve been convicted in a court of law, don’t make the mistake of thinking of an appeal as a do-over. However if there are certain reasons that you can show with evidence that the outcome was unfair or did not include certain key proof that could have had an effect on the jury’s decision, you may have grounds for an appeal.

An appeal has to be based on the belief that some part of the process broke down and led to an outcome that was unfair in some way. A legal appeal essentially argues some part of the case had serious defects that you, as the defendant, had absolutely no control over. An appeal is asking a higher court to look at what you believe was improperly done and how and show evidence of that.

Examples of Grounds for an Appeal:

  • Jury Selection

Most people have heard of the term “a jury of your peers.” Sometimes, the application of that term can be grounds for an appeal.

If you can show that the members of the jury were improperly selected in such a way that members held a bias against the defendant, this may grounds for an appeal. It’s also possible the jury members engaged in some form of misconduct during the hearing, such as maintaining communication with trial details outside of the courtroom.

  • Evidence

Evidence is a common area for appeal including improper admission or exclusion of evidence. During trial, it’s possible the evidence was not handled properly, improperly admitted or excluded, or there was insufficient evidence. These situations generally are looking at if proper rules were followed when it came to evidence presented. If you can show provable errors, then it could be a reason to appeal your conviction.

  • Bad Lawyering

Two ways bad lawyering can be grounds for an appeal are 1) prosecutorial misconduct or 2) ineffective defense assistance by counsel. It the prosecuting attorney did things that were unethical and in violation of the code of conduct required by the prosecution, you may be able to demonstrate that as a reason for an appeal. Conversely if it can be shown that your defense attorney was not properly representing you, an appeals attorney may be able to show ways they were ineffective.

Keep in mind, though, that bad legal representation does not mean unhappy with the job performance or the outcome. Your defense attorney may not be bad simply because you were found guilty. After all, it’s very possible for the most competent lawyer to lose any case. However, if the individual can argue their lawyer made too many errors in basic court proceedings, was unfocused, or mishandled any single part of the case, you could appeal.

Appealing your case does not mean you will be found not guilty but rather it may give you the needed chance to show that you are in fact not guilty.

If you have been convicted, you need to file a quickly that you intend to present evidence for an appeal. This is called a Notice of Appeal and alerts the Appeals Court of your intention by the required deadline. You and your appeals lawyer will then have time to prepare and submit a brief which describes in detail the grounds for appeal. If you anticipate you will be convicted or have been convicted, contact Farkas and Crowley, P.A., immediately. There is a set period of time to get your Notice of Appeal (usually 30 days from date of conviction) filed so do not delay.

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