The jury or judge announced a guilty verdict in your criminal case and you're frustrated. You genuinely feel that you were wrongly convicted and you're searching for a solution to make things right. In these cases, the law grants defendants the right to appeal. An appeal is a request for a higher court to review the decisions of a lower court and correct any substantial issues in the trial process. If you strongly believe that a judge or jury's decision was unfair or unwarranted, and a higher court agrees with you, your conviction may be overturned.
Before you make a hasty decision to appeal, it's important that you have an honest moment with yourself about your expectations. The harsh reality of appealing is that you will be fighting an uphill battle. Success generally relies on outstanding legal representation, the severity of the mistake(s) made on behalf of a judge or jury, and an extremely compelling appeal argument. Once you understand what you're up against, you can make an informed decision as to whether you would like to pursue an appeal or choose a different post-conviction option.
In many cases, a successful appeal outcome is the difference between being free and undergoing a jail or imprisonment term. If you've been faced with such high stakes, remember that obtaining a really good criminal appeals attorney is a must, so make sure you choose wisely.
What Happens If You Win Your Appeal
The appellate process is long and arduous. Receiving notification that your appeal will be allowed after enduring months, and sometimes years of navigating this process can be the most rewarding feeling. So what happens next? In most circumstances, your case will be remanded. This essentially means that your case will be sent back to the judge or jury responsible for your conviction and/or sentencing. From then on, he or she will impose one of a range of options in response to an appeal. Depending on your circumstances, and the respective authority in your case, you might experience the following:
- The negotiation of a plea bargain
- A new trial on the criminal charges
- A new sentencing hearing (the court of appeals will ask the judge to adjust the sentence that it will be legal and/or it will meet the terms of a plea agreement)
- A release from jail or prison
Pennsylvania Criminal Appeals Attorney
Every case is unique, and the chances of a successful appeal boil down to your circumstances. You may have a case with several issues or one substantial issue that increases your likelihood of success, or you may have a case with no issues or insignificant issues that have little to no effect on your conviction. I have the experience and expertise to gauge the strength of your case and whether it's worth pursuing. Although the odds may be against you, no case is unconquerable. With the help of a skilled and experienced criminal appeals attorney, you can drastically improve these odds.