Contrary to popular belief, a criminal appeal is not a retrial of the case. You cannot appeal a criminal verdict for just any reason; generally, you must have grounds for an appeal. The appellate court will review the lower court’s records to determine if you have the right to appeal your case.
This can happen if:
Your Trial Was Unfair
First and foremost, the United States Constitution guarantees all citizens the right to a fair trial. You also have the right to due process, the freedom to plead the Fifth Amendment to avoid self-incrimination, and the right to legal counsel. You have the right to a trial by jury and your bail may not be excessive.
If any of these elements were not freely provided to you during your trial, you may be able to file an appeal.
The Evidence Does or Does Not Support the Verdict
When prosecutors have a weak case against a defendant, they often introduce what is called circumstantial evidence, or evidence that can’t necessarily be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. Regardless, juries listen to this evidence and make decisions based on it, even though it may only be a theory of what happened and not the truth.
If circumstantial evidence was used to convict you, or the evidence available in your case does not support the verdict issued, you may have grounds to appeal the decision.
Legal or Factual Mistakes Were Made by the Judge
If the court made factual or legal mistakes in your case that caused you substantial harm or greatly affected the outcome of your case, this may be another avenue with which you can pursue an appeal.
For example, a judge may make a decision not supported by law or the jury may have been given incorrect instructions prior to the deliberation of your case. Legal misconduct by the judge or your attorney at the time may also be considered grounds for an appeal.
Do You Need a California Appeals Lawyer?
If you were charged and convicted of a crime, you may be able to appeal your case. It’s important that you have a criminal defense attorney in your corner that has specific experience with the appellate process.
Contact Los Angeles criminal defense Chad Lewin for a consultation by calling (800) 458-1488. We offer affordable payment plans to ensure everyone has access to quality legal representation and look forward to serving you.