Understanding the Appeal Process

The criminal appeal process allows individuals to request a new review of their case after being found guilty at trial. However, navigating the complex legal procedures and strict filing deadlines can be daunting without expert guidance. As experienced criminal appeal lawyers, the attorneys at Brownstone Law are well-versed in analyzing case files for potential issues, researching pertinent laws and precedents, and preparing persuasive appeal briefs and oral arguments.

Mistakes Were Made at Your Original Trial

One of the primary motivations for pursuing a criminal appeal is the belief that significant legal or procedural errors negatively impacted the initial outcome. A knowledgeable criminal appeal lawyer will carefully examine trial transcripts and court documents to identify potential issues like ineffective defense counsel, evidence suppression errors, problematic jury instructions, or inappropriate comments from the prosecutor or judge. Even small technical mistakes can form the basis for a successful appeal.

New Evidence Has Come to Light

Another compelling reason to file an appeal is the discovery of new evidence not presented at your original trial. For instance, you may have located an additional eyewitness, unearthed exculpatory documents, or received a confession from the real perpetrator after the fact. A criminal appeal lawyer can assist with investigating new evidence claims, determining if the information is admissible, and arguing how it could have impacted the initial verdict.

Questionable Sentencing or Punishment

Sentencing appeals consider whether the imposed punishment was disproportionate to the crime, inconsistent with similar cases, based on improper factors, or in violation of statutory guidelines. Common issues involve incorrect criminal history calculations, failure to consider mitigating circumstances, or imposition of consecutive rather than concurrent sentences. A criminal appeal lawyer will evaluate these types of sentencing objections and craft persuasive legal arguments if valid discrepancies surface.

Requesting Leniency as a First-Time Offender

First-time and nonviolent offenders may pursue an appeal asking the court to exercise leniency and reconsider the initial judgment. Criminal appeal lawyers can emphasize positive character references, minimal prior contacts with law enforcement, evidence of rehabilitation efforts, and arguments that the punishment was unduly harsh given the particular circumstances of the crime and offender. Judicious use of discretionary appeal requests aims to correct unjust outcomes for deserving appellants.

Taking Advantage of Lesser Included Offense Doctrines

Another strategy employed by savvy criminal appeal attorneys involves asserting that the evidence supported conviction of a lesser included offense carrying a shorter sentence rather than the principal crime charged. For example, if convicted of armed robbery but the weapon was never conclusively identified, the appeal argues the conviction should be reduced to simple robbery. Analyzing the trial record for nuanced distinctions between closely related charges can shorten punishments through skillful legal arguments.

Maximizing Chances of Overturning a Conviction

Taking an appeal without representation from an experienced criminal appeal lawyer severely limits your chances of success. Here are a few key reasons why:Strict filing deadlines and procedural rules: Missing court-mandated deadlines for submitting appeal notices or briefs could result in dismissal, even if substantial grounds exist. Criminal appeal lawyers are adept at navigating these complex requirements.Complex legal arguments required: Appeal cases require advocacy through compelling legal arguments based on precedent and case law. Laypersons lack the specialized training needed to craft persuasive written briefs and oral arguments that will resonate with judges.Knowledge of the court system: Experienced appellate attorneys understand unwritten courtroom norms and the best strategies for respectfully framing requests to maximize chances of a receptive hearing.Identification of all possible issues: Criminal appeal lawyers conduct a fine-tooth comb review of all case materials to analyze for any potential issues that may have been missed during an initial pro se review, such as suppression motions, jury instructions, or sentencing factors.Amicable resolution negotiations: If warranted, appeal attorneys will approach prosecutors to discuss case weaknesses and potentially negotiate a plea to a lesser offense or reduced sentence if the appeal has merit without necessitating a new trial.Considering these inherent complexities, it is almost always advisable to retain an appeal expert well-versed in the nuanced procedure and tactics that can make the difference between an appeal’s success or dismissal. The attorneys at Brownstone Law have obtained many overturned convictions through their comprehensive, systematic approach.

Challenging Constitutionality of Laws

In rare cases, a criminal appeal may contest that the statute the defendant was convicted under itself violates constitutional protections. For instance, criminal appeal lawyers have succeeded in nullifying vague legislation, extending insanity defense rights, and striking down disproportionate mandatory minimum sentencing policies. Mounting sophisticated constitutional challenges requires specialized legal expertise criminal trial attorneys often lack.

Consider Retaining Help from an Appeal Expert

For any of the compelling circumstances outlined above, it is prudent to consult an experienced criminal appeal attorney to review the merits and strategic options for the best chance of overturning an unfavorable trial judgment. The appellate specialists at Brownstone Law focus exclusively on post-conviction challenges and have reversed countless convictions through thorough preparation and persuasive oral advocacy. Contact us to schedule a free initial case evaluation.