A guilty verdict is not the end of the road for Chester County defendants. In all criminal cases at the trial level in this county can be appealed. But the circumstances in which they can be appealed vary. There are some appeals that have more conditions that you'll need to prove to be successful, and others require a number of things to occur before they can be effectively filed. In this article, we'll address the types of appeals that are available for Chester County defendants. For more information about an appeal in your case, contact us today.
Withdrawing a Plea
During an arraignment, a couple things will occur. A defendant will be notified of all of their charges, an amount for bail will be set, and most importantly, a plea will be entered. This is one of the most important decisions that a defendant can make, so it's recommended that an attorney is present to ensure that a sound decision is made. Defendants must file a “guilty,” “not guilty” or “no contest” plea in order for their case to proceed. When a person pleads guilty, they give up their right to a jury trial and forfeits the mitigation of the issues, concerns, and arguments that are decided by a judge and jury. Ultimately, all that's left is to assign a sentence.
It's important to remember that since it's presumed that a defendant understands what pleading guilty entails, it becomes incredibly different to appeal this decision later. The only ground that can be made on this type of appeal is that you would not have been found guilty of your charges if you didn't make this plea. This is pretty difficult to prove, but it's possible with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
An interlocutory appeal is filed before a verdict is given. It requests that an appellate court review an important aspect of a case that could have possibly prevented a case from being fairly and properly resolved.
Post-Conviction Relief Act (PCRA)
Pennsylvania's Post-Conviction Relief Act, commonly known as PCRA, allows defendants who are serving a sentence to challenge the decision made a by a judge or jury based on a specific argument. Many defendants who use this act for relief make the argument that their attorney's representation was ineffective and that resulted in the unfavorable verdict.
A defendant's beliefs about their attorney's actions (or lack thereof) aren't enough to get relief by means of the PCRA. One must effectively prove the following three points:
- The mistake an attorney made in your case is valid, or of arguable merit
- The mistake an attorney made in your case was unreasonable and cannot be justified in any way, shape, or form
- If the mistake made did not occur, there's a likelihood that the result of a criminal trial would have been different
Chester County Criminal Appellate Attorney
For a more detailed account of the types of appeals in Chester County, and the appeals process, you should contact skilled and experienced appellate attorney Joseph D. Lento. He can help you evaluate whether an appeal is an ideal option for you. He's helped many of his clients successfully overturn their convictions and win their new trials. Contact him today online or by phone at (215) 535-5353.