Do you and your criminal defense attorney from Anne Arundel County disagree with the outcome of your trial? Then you might want to consider appealing your case. A criminal appeal is a complex process where the court of appeals reviews a criminal case to make sure the proceedings followed the law. The appeal is based on written records of the case, including transcripts by the reporter. Here is a guide to help you understand what goes into filing a criminal appeal.
Who Can Appeal?
Any defendant, juvenile or adult, who lost their criminal court case can file for a criminal appeal. Most of these are direct appeals. The party who is filing an appeal is the appellant. The court where appeals are decided is called the appellate court. There are several fees, including filing fees and a deposit for transcripts that you might have to pay before the appeal can be reviewed. Low-income defendants can file the appeal, receive a copy of the case transcripts, and have a criminal defense attorney in Anne Arundel County appointed for free. The appeal is filed with the District Court, and the appellant must ensure that the other party involved is served correctly.
What Issues Can You Appeal?
An appeal involves questioning if there were one or more legal mistakes made during a case that impacted the verdict. If the appellate court decides the legal errors are important enough, the case will be granted a retrial. If the case, by law, cannot be prosecuted further, the verdict in the case will be reversed, and directions will be given for the dismissal. Hiring or being assigned one of the top criminal defense attorneys can help strengthen your case significantly if you are granted an appeal.
Many issues can be raised in the appeal. The most common issues are a wrongful conviction of the defendant due to insufficient evidence, evidence being incorrectly filed, or evidence being withheld during the original trial. Another issue that can be brought up during the appeal is the conduct of the presiding judge before and during the trial. This can involve errors in the sentencing or refusing to excuse a biased juror. Other problems with the jury involve making a final decision based on the defendant’s race, gender, ethnicity, or other discriminatory factors.
Appeals involving sentencing issues differ slightly from appeals involving underlying convictions. Most sentencing errors are challenged on a direct appeal. Sometimes, a case involves an agreement on sentencing by the defendant and the government. The most common type is a plea bargain, where an arrangement is made between a prosecutor (or juvenile criminal defense attorney if the defendant is under 18 years of age) and defendant for a more lenient sentence or removal of specific charges. In order for an agreement like this to be reached, the defendant must plead guilty to the remaining charges in court. If the judge on the case imposes a greater sentence than what was set forth in the agreement, then the defendant can file a sentencing appeal. These appeals are typically handled by the best criminal attorneys because they have extensive knowledge and experience dealing with these cases.