Do I Need an Attorney for a Criminal Case Appeal?

Posted on Wednesday, June 6th, 2018 at 6:45 am    

Justice Figurine

Appealing a criminal case is vastly different than trying a criminal case. Do you need an attorney to handle your criminal case appeal? The short answer is, no – you do not. You have the right to act on your own behalf – or pro se – for your appeal. While it’s not prohibited, it is not necessarily recommended. Appeals are rather difficult and require a skill set that not even all attorneys possess.

A Los Angeles criminal appeals attorney from Spolin Law P.C. can help. If you’ve been convicted of a criminal offense and wish to appeal, contact us today at (310) 424-5816 to schedule a free case consultation.

Trial Work vs. Appellant Work

Trying a criminal case is vastly different than appealing a court’s decision in the same case. Reasons you may want to consider a criminal appeal include:

Slower Pace
Once a criminal trial begins, it moves at a relatively fast pace. At trial, criminal defense attorneys must pay careful attention to everything happening in the courtroom and raise objections on the record. This is important because those objections could mean the difference between winning or losing a future appeal.

Unlike a criminal trial, a criminal case appeal moves quite slowly. You’ve probably heard about appeals taking years to move through the process. That’s true. While criminal defendants have a constitutional right to a speedy trial, there is no right to a quick appeal.

No Jury
The U.S. Constitution gives everyone the right to a jury trial where a defendant’s fate is in the hands of their peers, not solely in the hands of a judge. In a criminal case appeal, there is no jury. The attorneys make oral arguments either before a judge or panel of three judges depending on the jurisdiction where the appeal takes place.

Arguing before a jury is much different than making opinions before a judge. Experienced criminal trial lawyers are highly adept at reading a jury and crafting their arguments so jurors understand. Appellant lawyers, on the other hand, must be prepared to answer questions posed by the judge that could involve minute details about law and procedure.

Extensive Research & Writing
Before an appeal even gets to a judge, your attorney will have likely spent hours studying the law, reading trial transcripts, and determining if criminal procedure was followed to the letter. This is how criminal defense attorneys make their case for your appeal. While doing their research, your attorney will outline a legal brief. This is the document they send to the court, and upon which the court decides if it will or will not hear your appeal.

Intricate Legal Arguments
We’ve already how established how important a well-written and persuasive a legal brief must be. But what’s actually in the brief? Included in this important document are complex legal arguments that delve deep into the complex details of the law.

Criminal trial attorneys know the law inside and out. Appellant attorneys take that knowledge and craft an argument explaining not only the law, but how and why the trial court below applied the law incorrectly in your case. This is an extremely difficult obstacle to overcome, because appellant courts are hesitant to tell other courts they were wrong.

Contact Spolin Law P.C. for Help With Your Criminal Case Appeal

The attorneys at Spolin Law P.C. know what is at stake when you’ve been convicted of a crime. An appeal may help you get your life back on track. Appealing on your own is possible, but your chance of winning may be decreased simply because you don’t know the legal system like our highly-skilled attorneys do.

Contact us today at (310) 424-5816 to schedule a free, initial case evaluation.