Whether you were wrongfully convicted or believe that your trial or sentence was unfair, you have legal options. Should you wish to challenge the ruling made by a court, a Fort Oglethorpe appeals lawyer could be an essential part of successfully appealing a criminal conviction. A criminal lawyer could assess your circumstances and determine whether you have grounds for a valid appeal of your criminal conviction.
The most common means of initially challenging a criminal conviction, which is a typical precursor to an appeal, is to file a motion asking the trial court for a new trial. This request is based on errors that defendants believe the court made. For instance, the request could address evidentiary concerns that might have arisen during the trial.
If the trial court judge denies the motion requesting a new trial, defendants then have the right to file an appeal directly to the Georgia Court of Appeals. The goal of an appeal is for the appellate court to acknowledge the mistakes that the trial court made as grounds for overturning the criminal conviction.
For example, if the appellate court determines that the trial court made an error in admitting a specific piece of evidence, the appellate court could overturn the conviction and send it back to the trial court for a new trial. As an appeals lawyer in Fort Oglethorpe may advise, if the now inadmissible evidence is essential to the prosecution, the prosecutor may be unable or unwilling to retry the case.
The appellate process differs markedly from the trial process. Appellate courts do not retry the case, hear from witnesses, or physically examine the evidence. Instead, the appellate court only reviews a written transcript of the trial, as well as documentation of the evidence admitted at trial.
In addition to the trial record, both sides to the dispute can submit written briefs, which set forth their arguments about how and whether the trial court made errors in the case. Once both parties submit their briefs, the Court of Appeals reviews all relevant documents and decides whether the trial court committed any errors. The appellate court also determines if any errors that occurred are significant enough to merit a reversal of the criminal conviction.
Various grounds may exist in criminal cases that might justify an appeal based on the facts and circumstances of the case. Some of the most common reasons that defendants appeal their criminal convictions may include:
Many of these grounds for an appeals attorney in Fort Oglethorpe to file an appeal stem from constitutional law. Under the federal and state constitutions, criminal defendants have many rights. A violation of these rights may be a reason for an appellate court to overturn a criminal conviction.
Every criminal case is different, but state law does provide for strict deadlines for filing appeals. As a result, if you believe that you have grounds for an appeal, you should contact a Fort Oglethorpe appeals lawyer as quickly as possible following a criminal conviction. Otherwise, you risk losing out on the valuable right to appeal your conviction.