When a court finds someone guilty of committing a criminal act, that person might be at a loss for what to do next. However, they have the legal right to request an appeal. The appellate process is a means for a court of a higher power to determine whether the lower court made a mistake in their ruling. Thus, a person charged with a crime has another chance to convince the judicial system that they are not guilty of the alleged acts.
Because of the complexity of the appellate process, you may find an attorney’s help vital. A compassionate Dumfries appeals lawyer might aid you in drafting the appropriate briefs necessary to argue your case. Sometimes the court does not allow any oral arguments and instead bases their decision solely on the written documents submitted to the court. An experienced criminal defense attorney could have the skillset required to appeal a court decision.
The appellate process is an avenue which protects defendants from mistakes made at trial. Judges are human and errors occur in rulings. If a defendant was displeased with the legal outcome of their case, they might request a higher court review the trial court’s decision.
A defendant has the right to appeal a district court decision to the Circuit Court but they will need to petition the Court of Appeals to review the Circuit Court’s decision. Once the Court of Appeals considers the appeal, it may decide to order a new trial, uphold the Circuit Court’s decision, or reverse the Circuit Court’s decision. A reversal may be the most satisfactory outcome because it means that the defendant is allowed to go free. If the Court of Appeals orders a new trial, the defendant will need to argue their case in Circuit Court once again.
If the Court of Appeals orders a new trial or upholds the Circuit Court’s decision, the defendant may request a review by the Supreme Court of Virginia, the highest court in the Commonwealth. However, the Supreme Court has the discretion to entertain the appeal and could dismiss or deny the appeal outright. A skillful appellate courts lawyer could be an asset if a defendant wishes to attempt a second appeal.
A defendant can appeal the outcome of most criminal matters. Some common types of criminal acts this applies to include DUIs, sex crimes, and drug-related offenses.
However, not all cases are able to be appealed. If errors were made during the trial, and the defendant or the defendant’s attorney did not preserve those errors on the record, the defendant may not be able to appeal those mistakes. Objecting to any potential mistake is an essential aspect of a trial court so that an appeal is possible. If there were no errors made during the trial, then the appellate courts will not overturn the lower court’s ruling. It is important to have a local lawyer who understands the events of the original trial so the appeals process runs smoothly.
If the defendant’s trial attorney made a mistake which results in a guilty verdict, that is also a ground to appeal the trial court decision. Some errors may include failing to object to testimony or questions by the prosecutor, missing deadlines, or giving incorrect jury instructions.
The law, as described in Code of Virginia §8.01-675.3, gives you 30 days to file an appeal, with a few exceptions. If you believe you may have a case for appeal, reach out to a Dumfries appeals lawyer quickly to ensure you receive the best advice and assistance. Schedule your consultation as soon as you hear the result from your criminal matter. You have the right to petition for an appeal, so take advantage of that right.
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