The decision of a trial court in a criminal case can be challenged via an appeal at the higher courts. This appeal can be done alongside a motion to reduce the sentence within 60 days of the trial sentencing. Having a credible legal professional such as a criminal appellate attorney by your side is thus important when going for an appeal.
When should I opt for an appeal?
Going for an appeal is the right of every defendant in a criminal case. When the ruling does not seem satisfactory, or if you are not satisfied with the proceedings of the case, you can opt for an appeal. An appeal might be your one last chance to have your sentencing reviewed by a higher panel of judges, thus tipping the case in your favor.
It is important to have the guidance of a credible appeals attorney when filing an appeal. Usually, your first consultation is free in most law firms, and you should make the best use of this. When meeting appeal attorneys for the first time, make sure to have an extensive interview about their experience, success rates, recent cases and other related matters to ensure that they are indeed the right lawyer for you.
Even appeal lawyers agree that the appeal process at the Supreme Court is tedious and time consuming, wherein the ruling for an appeal can take two years before the decision is made by the courts. Employing an appeals lawyer as opposed to continuing with your trial lawyer is thus necessary. An efficient criminal appellate attorney works with the trial counsel to gain a better understanding of the case. He is quite proficient in writing detailed briefs and writs, which is not quite the area of expertise for a trial lawyer.
Steps of an appeal
- The first step of an appeal is to determine if your case is eligible for an appeal.
- All the necessary records and documents pertaining to the case ought to be collected from the trial court.
- The notice for an appeal has to be filed in the court within a stipulated time in order to be eligible for an appeal.
- An appeal bond can be filed in advance to delay the sentencing.
- Your appeals lawyer will help with filing memorandums and writing briefs.
- Wait for the answer brief from the appellee (the party who won in the trial court)
- In rare cases, this will lead to oral arguments.
- The judges prepare their final decision.
- Either party is eligible to file a motion for rehearing or an appeal if they find the proceedings unsatisfactory.
- The court issues a final mandate.
Most appeals can take up to two years till the court arrives at a decision. This is quite a long time, and hence it requires the skills of proficient Miami criminal appellate attorney standing by your side to help take care of the intricacies of filing your appeal.