The only thing that truly ends a case is a verdict of not guilty on all counts. In that case, the prosecution cannot seek a new trial or bring you up on the same charges. But if you’ve received a guilty verdict, it may not be over. If you think you’ve been wrongfully convicted, there are steps you and your experienced criminal defense attorney can take to try and get it overturned.
So, you’ve been convicted of a crime and received a sentence. Just like that, it’s over. Or is it? The only thing that truly ends a case is a verdict of not guilty on all counts. In that case, the prosecution cannot seek a new trial or bring back the original charges. But if you’ve received a guilty verdict, it may not be over. Did the judge make an error in one of her rulings? Did you receive an illegal or improper sentence? Was your attorney ineffective? If you think you’ve been wrongfully convicted there are steps you and your experienced criminal defense attorney can take to try and get it overturned. You have thirty days to file a notice of appeal and 2 years after your conviction becomes final to claim that your attorney was ineffective.
What Is an Appeal?
An appeal is a process in which a case is reviewed by a higher court. The person filing the appeal usually asks a higher court to change the decision below. For example, sometimes after a conviction, a person asks the appellate court to reverse the conviction because the cops obtained evidence illegally and the judge refused to throw it out. The error resulted in an improper conviction. Appeals function to correct errors made by the police, the prosecutor, the judge, and the jury.
Appeals are presented to a panel of judges, rather than a trial judge or jury. The parties submit legal briefs and present their arguments. After submitting briefs, the parties may have an opportunity to present an oral argument to a judge or panel of judges. During oral arguments, judges often ask the attorneys questions.
An appeal is about whether the judge at your trial made some serious mistakes and whether those mistakes helped the state get a conviction. An attorney is usually looking for ways to persuade a higher court that the trial judge made such serious mistakes that you did not get a fair trial or a legal sentence.
What Are the Grounds for Appeals?
You may plead guilty and reserve your right to appeal the denial of a motion to suppress evidence or dismiss your case on legal grounds. And you may appeal a guilty verdict for a number of reasons:
- Legal errors. Your best chance at winning an appeal is when a judge makes a mistake in applying the law. The most common reasons to appeal a case include legal grounds such as false arrest, failure to dismiss a case, failure to suppress illegal evidence, improper exclusion or admission of evidence, incorrect jury instructions, lack of evidence to support a finding of guilty, juror misconduct, prosecutorial misconduct, sentencing errors and ineffective assistance of counsel.
- Errors in findings of fact. If a judgment or guilty verdict is not supported by the facts the court of appeal may reverse your judgment and sentence and order a new trial or sentencing hearing.
- Sentence errors. The judge may get the facts wrong or use the wrong sentencing punishment guidelines, use the wrong penalty provisions, or ignore mitigating factors in your favor. The appeals court may order the judge to resentence you in accordance with the law.
It’s Important to Have Experience on Your Side
At Fernandez & Hernandez, the attorneys have significant experience in criminal defense. Daniel J. Fernandez has conducted hundreds of criminal trials in his more than 30 years as a criminal defense attorney. He started his career as a state prosecutor and became chief of the Narcotics division before launching his own law practice in 1985. Martin J. Hernandez also has experience on both sides of the courtroom. Having worked as a state prosecutor gave him more trial experience than most attorneys achieve in a lifetime. Together, they have more than 500 trials between them.
If you feel you’ve been wrongly convicted or sentenced, it’s imperative that you seek the advice of proven, trial-tested criminal defense attorneys like those at Fernandez & Hernandez. You can reach us for advice 24/7. Hablan español. If you or a loved one need legal assistance with an appeal or a motion for post-conviction relief call Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Daniel J. Fernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez at 813-229-5353.