Criminal Appeal Process

When you are found guilty by a judge or jury after a trial, you can appeal the conviction. When you learn of your loss at trial, state or have your attorney state on the record that you will file an appeal, and you want a new trial. Later, you must file paperwork. The most important documents to file are a notice of appeal in the court in which you just lost and the actual appeal with the next higher court. If you did not go to trial, but entered a plea of guilty or no contest (nolo contendere), you cannot appeal the judgment entered against you. In this situation, you must make a motion to withdraw your plea. You go through a different process to withdraw a plea than you do to file an appeal.

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How to Appeal a Criminal Conviction

An appeal is the process whereby a defendant can ask a higher court to review their case to make sure that the case was handled properly. In order to appeal a case, a defendant should understand how to preserve the right to appeal, the types of issues that can be resolved through a direct or indirect appeal, and how the process works.

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State Felony Appeals

A person who has been convicted of a state felony may appeal the conviction in a state court of appeals. While those who plead guilty to a felony forfeit their right to an appeal, other convictions have the opportunity to present their appeal to a court.

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Federal Criminal Appeals

When an individual is convicted of a federal crime, his or her first line of challenge to the guilty verdict is a federal criminal appeal. A lost appeal essentially affirms or finalizes a federal conviction or sentence.

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What are these “last minute appeals” I read about in the news?

In criminal cases, a federal court may also review either a federal or state court conviction after all of the usual appeals have been exhausted. This is done by a petition for ‘habeas corpus.’ Habeas Corpus petitions are used to review death penalty cases, they are also filed in other serious criminal cases and in other situations.

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Grounds for Criminal Appeal

Grounds for a criminal appeal must be based on the law and procedure followed during the trial, and an appeals court rarely questions the factual determinations of a jury. Read on for comprehensive information about grounds for appeal of a criminal conviction and whether you might be able to appeal your conviction.

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