When you’re charged with a serious crime that carries some stiff penalties, it’s only natural to be anxious about the outcome of your trial. You know you want the best possible defense team on your side.
Should that defense team include an appellate attorney? It may seem like either an unnecessary expense (during an already expensive time) or almost like you’re betting against yourself in court, but it could be a wise move for your future.
How can an appellate attorney help?
A trial and an appeal work very differently. A trial attorney wants to convince the jury that the prosecution is wrong, while an appeal focuses on whether or not the trial was fair in the first place.
For that reason, trial attorneys and appellate attorneys have to focus on different things. When the stakes are high, it can be very helpful to have an appellate attorney act as a consultant during a trial because:
- They can help identify where objections need to be entered into the record. Whether the objection is about evidence or a judge’s ruling, noting an objection is the best way to preserve the right to bring those issues back up during an appeal.
- They can help spot issues that could be the basis for an appeal. Because appellate attorneys think differently than trial attorneys, they may spot issues that could be used on appeal that the trial attorney simply doesn’t see.
- They can start preparing the appeal early. The more familiar an appellate attorney is with a case, the easier it will be for them to sort through the piles of evidence and the lengthy court record to find all the issues that need to be addressed.
Keeping an eye on a potential appeal isn’t “throwing in the towel” on your criminal trial. It’s just smart business during a grave situation where your future is at stake.