In most cases, dealing with a criminal conviction can be a frustrating experience. Depending on the criminal offense involved, being convicted means you need to face several legal consequences, such as the payment of hefty fines and jail time. However, if you’ve been convicted and sentenced by the court, you may be entitled to file an appeal.
Essentially, an appeal refers to a review by the appellate court of the trial court’s decision for any legal errors that may affect the outcome of a case. When the appeal is granted, the trial court’s decision may be reversed or overturned. But, when the appeal is denied, the decision of the lower court will stand and become final.
So, if you’ve been convicted of a crime, here’s how you can stage a successful appeal and overturn a conviction:
1. Hire A Lawyer To Handle Your Appeal
Not all trial lawyers have the experience and expertise to navigate the appeal process. That’s why the first step toward staging a successful appeal is hiring a legal professional like the Nashville top criminal defense lawyer or whoever is the leading expert in your area who can handle your appeal more efficiently.
When you work with someone who understands the ins and outs of the appeal process, you’ll increase the likelihood of overturning your conviction. For instance, they can help properly file the notice of the appeal with the appropriate court to notify the other party that you’re appealing the lower court’s decision.
2. Obtain The Records Of The Appeal
Once the notice of appeal is filed, the next step in staging a successful appeal is to obtain and review the records of the appeal. In this stage, your dedicated lawyer will request the records from the trial court clerk, which includes every document that was filed with the trial court as well as the recordings of everything that was said during the trials.
After getting all the documents and records associated with your criminal case, your lawyer will thoroughly review them to spot any potential legal errors that you can use to obtain a successful appeal and an overturned conviction.
3. Prepare And File The Appropriate Brief
After reviewing the trial documents and recordings, the next step is to draft and file the brief with the appropriate appellate court. The appeal brief refers to a legal document outlining the details of your criminal case and the legal arguments that will support your appeal and help overturn your conviction.
In most cases, you and your lawyer may use the following arguments to improve your odds of getting a successful appeal:
- Insufficient evidence for a conviction: It’s important to note that during the appeal, the higher court has the opportunity to examine the pieces of evidence submitted in the trial court. Hence, when they find that there’s no sufficient evidence to warrant your conviction, they’ll have a reason to overturn your conviction.
- Abuse of discretion: Another argument you can use to improve the chances of getting an overturned conviction is the abuse of discretion. If the appellate court finds that the trial judge abused their discretion in trying and deciding the case, they may overturn the conviction due to an arbitrary or erroneous ruling.
- Ineffective assistance of counsel: You and your appeal lawyer can also argue that you failed to get a favorable judgment due to the ineffective assistance of your trial lawyer. This means your trial legal counsel’s level of representation was below the accepted professional standard for lawyers. In short, they failed to build a strong criminal defense strategy and perform their other legal duties in a competent manner. When the higher court sees ineffective assistance of counsel as a serious issue, it can result in a successful appeal and overturning of your conviction.
As you can see, there are many arguments you can raise in your brief to show that your conviction should be reversed. Thus, to get the most of your appeal case, make sure your brief contains all the details necessary to get a favorable outcome.
4. Prepare For The Oral Argument
Now that you’ve already filed your brief, the next step to take to ensure a successful appeal is to prepare the oral arguments. In this stage, your lawyer will orally argue your case in front of the justices assigned to your case. If you’re looking for a positive outcome, your legal representative should be able to persuade the justices of your arguments. When this happens, the justices will issue a written decision to reverse your conviction.
Indeed, it can be challenging to stage a successful criminal appeal. However, with the various potential issues you can bring on appeal, depending on the circumstances of your case, you still have a significant chance of having your conviction overturned. This is especially true if you hire a good lawyer who knows exactly how to navigate the appeal process.
Therefore, if you want to win your appeal case and overturn your conviction, keep the steps discussed above in mind.
Richard Bright is a legal advocate. He shares his legal expertise through guest blogging. Richard is married with five children. During his spare time, he loves to play chess and watch movies. He also loves woodworking and gardening.