Many people are under the impression that once they are convicted or plead guilty, it's the end of the road, and defendants have no choice but to be left to face their sentence. But this isn't always the case. With the help of a qualified attorney, defendants who feel that they were wrongfully convicted or made a mistake when they made the decision to plead guilty, may have another shot at justice by means of an appeal.
A criminal appeal is a request for a higher court (Pennsylvania Supreme Court or the Pennsylvania Superior Court) to review a case for legal errors. By nature, this process is incredibly complex and difficult to navigate. With strict deadlines, requests for motions, the establishment of specific grounds for an appeal to be granted, and more, it's important you have a reliable attorney on your side to help you stay on top of things in the midst of this overwhelming process.
If you've received a guilty verdict in court and are contemplating requesting an appeal, a comprehensive understanding of this process in Pennsylvania is crucial to your success. With this in mind, we've provided a brief overview of the logistics of Pennsylvania criminal appeals.
Criminal Appeals Process
There are several methods of appealing a case. A defendant can do so by means of a motion for acquittal, through state and federal systems to the appeal courts in respective jurisdictions, or through a Writ of Habeas Corpus. The way an appeal is approached is based on the circumstances of a respective defendant. Although there is much variety in the Pennsylvania criminal appeals process, one surety across the board is that it will be lengthy.
Grounds for Appeal
There is a common misconception that requesting an appeal is a way for a defendant to introduce new evidence that supports their innocence. However, convictions aren't overturned based on new evidence in the appellate court. Instead, it is the higher court's duty to determine whether there was a procedural error, or that a verdict was unfair. Any sufficient reason to overturn a case is a reasonable “ground” for an appeal. The goal is to assert a ground, like a procedural error, and further demonstrate why it played a major role in your conviction. These errors could occur in a trial or even in a scenario where a defendant pleads guilty.
Pennsylvania Criminal Appeals Attorney
It's important to keep in mind that appeals are much different than trials. Many attorneys are well-equipped to handle criminal trials, but may not be the right attorney that can handle appealing to the Superior Court. If you are in this situation, it's imperative you utilize your right to appeal a criminal conviction. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has many years of experience helping his clients appeal their conviction, reverse lengthy state sentences and obtain new trials. To restore your reputation and freedom, contact him today.