Appealing a Criminal Conviction
When you hear about criminal cases taking years or decades to resolve, it is often because they are going through the appeals process. A criminal defense lawyer can help you understand whether you can appeal the court’s ruling in your case because errors were made during the trial.
There are a few different ways to appeal the court’s decision. You can file a motion to have the court overturn its guilty verdict and enter a new, not guilty verdict. You can also file a motion for a new trial, which requests that the court declare your original trial a mistrial and schedule a new one, or you can appeal the ruling, which requests that a higher court review the case and determine whether to uphold or reverse the original ruling. Additionally, you can appeal your sentence. With this option, you accept the court’s verdict, but you request that a higher court review and potentially overturn your sentence due to a mishandling by the first court.
How Appellate Court Works
When you appeal a decision made by the circuit court, you bring the case to the appellate court for review. This does not mean your case gets another trial. Rather, it gets reviewed by a panel of appellate judges to determine the proper course of action for the case. The panel votes for one of the following four actions:
- Remand. This sends this case back to circuit court, where the court must correct its previous actions. This could mean trying the case a second time.
- Affirm. The appellate court can uphold the circuit court’s decision.
- Reverse. The appellate court can reverse the original decision.
- Reverse and remand. With this action, the appellate court reverses the circuit court’s decision and sends sends the case back to the lower court to be corrected.
Under Which Circumstances Is an Appeal Possible?
You cannot appeal a court ruling simply because you do not agree with it. Appeals are only possible when:
- The judge made factual or legal errors in his or her ruling.
- The evidence presented did not support the verdict.
- The trial was unfair in some way.
Possible Outcomes for Your Appeal
As mentioned above, there are a few potential outcomes that can result from appealing a court decision. For you, this means:
- You could be acquitted.
- Your sentence could be changed.
- Your conviction could remain exactly how it is.
Reaching one of these outcomes could mean you have to go through the trial process again.
Work With an Experienced St. Charles Criminal Defense Lawyer
Your case is not necessarily over when you are convicted of an offense. If you feel your conviction was made in error, talk to a Naperville criminal defense lawyer about the possibility of appealing your conviction. At Donahue & Sowa, we can explain the appeals process to you and help you determine whether pursuing an appeal is the best course of action for your case. To get started with a member of our team, contact us today at 630-505-5200 to set up your initial legal consultation in our office.