If you are convicted of a crime in Los Angeles, you may want to appeal, and you may assume that you can. However, the matter isn’t that simple. Not everyone has the right to appeal a criminal conviction or sentence. In fact, you have to fulfill several requirements in order to have the standing to appeal. If you lack one of the requirements, your appeal will be dismissed. You also have to prove there was a legal mistake made during your trial, which warrants a different outcome than the one that was reached.
When you do have the right to a criminal case appeal, you need to file the paperwork quickly. There are deadlines in place to ensure appeals are not filed years after the fact. It is essential you speak with a Los Angeles appeals lawyer as soon as possible after your conviction. To schedule a free consultation with an attorney or staff member with years of appeals experience, contact Spolin Law P.C. today at (310) 424-5816.
Requirements to File a Criminal Case Appeal
There are several requirements you must meet to be eligible to file a criminal case appeal. Questions to ask yourself as you review these requirements include:
Are your rights affected?
For you to be able to appeal, the law requires you to be an aggrieved party. This means that the criminal court’s decision has impacted your rights or cost you money. An example of this is if a court required you to pay restitution to an alleged victim.
Was there a final judgment?
The next requirement is directed toward what you may appeal. Typically, you may only appeal a final judgment. During a criminal court case, a judge may make several decisions regarding motions filed by the prosecution and defense attorneys. These are not final judgments regarding your overall case. However, after your trial, if the judge determines you are guilty of a crime, this is a final judgment. Therefore, it may be appealed.
Can you prove a legal error occurred?
You must have grounds to appeal a final judgment. To have any hope of altering the court’s decision, you need to be able to show that a legal error occurred during your trial. California appellate courts are not concerned with whether or not you think the conviction or sentence is fair. They are concerned with whether every aspect of your trial, conviction, and sentence was within the law. They will review the trial court proceedings for whether or not a legal mistake was made by the prosecutor, judge, or your defense attorney.
Common legal errors include:
- A prosecutor acted in an unethical manner
- A judge improperly admitting or excluding evidence
- A judge improperly instructing the jury
- A judge abused their discretion when sentencing you
- Your defense attorney provided ineffective counsel
- Jury misconduct
Can you show the legal error was prejudicial?
It is not enough that a mistake of law occurred during your criminal trial. You also have to be able to show that the legal error was so important that it impacted the outcome of your case. For example, you may believe that if a certain piece of evidence had not been excluded, you would not have been found guilty. That piece of evidence would have created reasonable doubt in your case.
When did your final judgment occur?
In California, there are different deadlines for different types of appeals and post-conviction relief. For the most traditional type of appeal, a “direct appeal,” you must file your notice to appeal within 60 days of the date of the felony conviction or sentence. If you wish to file a misdemeanor appeal, there is a deadline of 30 days. Other types of appeals and post-conviction relief can be filed later than that time period. For example, a California Writ of Habeas Corpus must be filed without undue delay after the discovery of the issue giving rise to the writ. Another type of post-conviction relief, an Application for Commutation of Sentence, has no deadline and can be filed with the executive branch at any time after sentencing.
If you are not confident in your original attorney’s knowledge, skills, or methods, or your previous attorney does not handle appeals, then you need to retain the help of a Los Angeles appeals lawyer. Once you find a new attorney, have them review your case, decide whether or not to appeal, and file the paperwork all in the appropriate amount of time.
Let Spolin Law P.C. Help You With a Criminal Case Appeal
When you wish to appeal a criminal case in Los Angeles, you must ask yourself a number of questions. Do you have enough time? Was there an error of law in your original case? Was there a final judgment? For help in answering these questions, and to learn more about your eligibility for appeal, contact a Los Angeles appeals lawyer or staff member from Spolin Law P.C. right away.