Criminal Conviction

5 Steps to Appeal a Criminal Conviction

A criminal case conviction does not typically end with a guilty or not guilty verdict. Either party can appeal the ruling, and the case can continue. Defendants who feel they’re wrongfully convicted can make a motion to the trial judge seeking to overturn the verdict. They can also ask for a new trial or appeal to the higher court to reverse the wrongful conviction.

If you’ve chosen the third option, here’s how you can make a successful appeal.

Step 1: Filing a Notice of Appeal 

The Notice of Appeal typically must be filed within 30 days of the trial court judgment. There are three methods to file an appeal in Georgia: direct appeal, a discretionary application to appeal, or making an interlocutory appeal. So, The appellate attorney must determine the type of appeal and to which court it needs to be filed.

The attorney must also know if the order is appealable or non-appealable. This distinction can be complicated because what looks like a final order can be appealable and vice versa. Experienced appellate lawyers know the difference between summary judgments, final orders, and orders granting summary judgment with words of finality.

Step 2: Gathering Evidence for the Appeal

Appellate courts do not admit new evidence or testimony. Plus, they do not entertain evidentiary hearings. However, The appellate attorney evaluates evidence, testimonies, and documents already presented before the trial court.

Typically, the standard filings are sent to the appellate court. But attorneys have to be careful because the trial clerk may not include essential documents or worse, leave out the required filings. They will also need to collect transcripts of relevant hearings.

Step 3: Doing Research

An appellate brief is the most critical aspect of an appeal. To write a good brief, the Brownstone law lawyer will need to spend a good amount of research to filter issues that are worth appealing and those that are not worth appealing.

Step 4: Write an Appeal

Appellate attorneys must have excellent writing skills. Experienced lawyers use statutes, constitutions, precedential cases, appropriate sources of law, and administrative rules. They use these resources to create a watertight brief and argue why the trial court conviction must be reversed.

Step 5: Making an Oral Argument

Not all appeals necessitate an oral argument. However, when they are necessary, they can be impactful. Some of the questions discussed during the oral argument include facts, relevant case laws, hypotheticals, and public policy issues. Experienced attorneys always make it a point to answer the questions directly rather than evading them because they deem it detrimental to the case.

Remember to choose a qualified appellate attorney dedicated to appellate practice and maximize your chances of winning.


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