Being convicted of a criminal offense can cause devastating consequences to your personal, family and professional life. Following your conviction, you may lose important privileges like driving, voter rights and much more. Worse still, you may lose your freedom by going through a long prison term or pay thousands of dollars in fines.
The good news, however, is that the U.S. Constitution accords you the right to appeal a conviction to a higher court. Your conviction can be reversed and a new trial can be ordered if you successfully convince the appeal court that an error was committed during your trial or sentencing. Better still, a successful appeal can result in your conviction being overturned.
Understand the grounds for a criminal appeal
It is important that you understand the grounds upon which you can file an appeal. You must purely base your appeal on the law rather than on facts since the jury makes decisions based on the facts. Here are grounds upon which you can file your criminal appeal:
- If there were errors in sentencing
- If the arrest was false
- If there were incorrect jury instructions
- If the evidence was improperly admitted
- Juror misconduct or prosecutorial misconduct
- If evidence was improperly excluded during the trial
Your appeal must demonstrate that one or some of these issues may have likely contributed materially to your conviction.
File your appeal on time
Once you have established the grounds for your appeal, you need to file a notice of appeal within the allowed timeframe. This is usually 30 to 60 days from the date of conviction depending on the seriousness of the crime you were convicted of committing. While filing a notice of appeal, be sure to put together proper evidence justifying your grounds for appeal.
An appeal is a request to a higher court to review the legal correctness of your conviction. It is not a new trial. Understanding how the federal appeal process works and how to file an appeal is key to filing a successful criminal appeal.