After a felony conviction on charges involving racketeering or drug trafficking, most defendants begin planning to appeal immediately. You have the right to appeal a court decision if your trial involved legal errors, jury misconduct or ineffective defense representation.
Some appeals end in failure. However, many others lead to success. Here are a few things it’s important to understand about an appeal.
An appeal is not a retrial
Many people don’t realize it, but a federal appeal is neither a rehearing of the evidence in your original case nor a retrial. Instead, it is more of a reexamining of the legal procedures involved in your trial. Your side presents evidence about errors, and the appellate court reviews it and responds, eventually making a final decision.
Your appeal could take a while
Federal appeals can take several months to a year or more. Appellate courts are notoriously busy, and there are only 13 of them across the nation, not counting the Supreme Court.
An appeal involves legal briefs
A brief is a formal document stating facts and points of law about the case in question. There will likely be several briefs filed in your case. Sometimes, a federal appeal concludes without any oral arguments at all.
Oral arguments are good
A top benefit of oral arguments (in addition to filing briefs) is that your counsel can immediately answer any questions or concerns the judges may have. Further, experienced legal representation is crucial to presenting persuasive legal arguments on your behalf.
If you want to appeal a federal felony conviction, a good next step is learning more about the process.