Can I Appeal a DUI Conviction?

Posted on Tuesday, January 15th, 2019 at 7:47 am    

Person-Driving-Car-with-Bottle-of-Beer

Things may seem hopeless if you’ve been convicted of a DUI in California, but a guilty verdict doesn’t necessarily mean that your case is over. You may be able to appeal the ruling, which is a request to have a higher court review the trial proceedings and correct certain types of mistakes. There are strict rules established for appeals, especially as they relate to how and why you can appeal a DUI conviction.

At Spolin Law P.C., our Los Angeles appeals attorneys are well-versed on the grounds for taking a DUI conviction to an appellate court. Our team has in-depth knowledge of the appeals process, which involves drafting briefs and presenting arguments to appeals judges. To learn about how we fight for the rights of clients who were wrongfully convicted of DUI, contact us today at (310) 424-5816.

Grounds for Appealing a DUI in California

There’s a common misconception that an appeal is similar to a second trial, where the court reconsiders the facts and circumstances of a conviction. However, appellate courts can only hear cases in which a legal error occurred during trial proceedings. Some of the familiar elements of a trial are noticeably missing, such as:

Witnesses

Neither your attorney or the prosecutor can bring in witnesses to testify before the appellate court. You cannot have someone testify again, nor can you introduce a new witness that was not available for your trial.

Evidence

No evidence will be presented during an appeal, so you cannot present any information or documents that weren’t introduced during your trial.

Both of these components relate to the facts of the case, and it’s not the job of the appellate court to assess any factual issues. The only item the judges will review on appeal is the record of the trial proceedings, which is a document describing everything that happened during your trial.

Factors an Appeals Court Will Consider

Since appellate courts focus on legal errors, the judges will review the trial record to assess issues raised by your appeals lawyer. Examples include:

  • Misconduct by your defense lawyer or the prosecutor
  • Illegally-obtained evidence was allowed in violation of your civil rights
  • Members of the jury disregarded the instructions of the judge
  • Evidence in your favor was erroneously suppressed
  • Other circumstances involving a legal mistake, as opposed to a factual error

What an Appellate Court Decision Means for Your DUI Case

The appeals process doesn’t result in your DUI conviction automatically being reversed. Even after you convince a judge that there was a legal error, you still need to show that the mistake was instrumental in the outcome in your case. For instance:

Example #1

You discovered that the prosecutor is close friends with the police officer that arrested you and testified at your DUI trial. The prosecution often gives the officer extravagant gifts under circumstances that suggest payment for the officer’s testimony. However, the jury also heard evidence that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was over the legal limit, according to an official breathalyzer test and a blood test. Though there may have been prosecutorial misconduct, there was still enough evidence to convict you on DUI charges.

Example #2

At trial, the prosecution introduced BAC test results showing that you were over the legal limit. Your criminal defense attorney objected on the grounds that the breathalyzer test was administered by an individual who had no training, so the results weren’t accurate. The judge allowed the false BAC test, which was the only evidence presented by the prosecutor.

Contact a Los Angeles Appeals Lawyer for Help

Though this overview of DUI appeals in California may be helpful, it’s no substitute for the assistance an experienced lawyer can provide. For more information on your appeals options, call Spolin Law P.C. right away to schedule a free case consultation. You can reach our firm by calling at (310) 424-5816, or via our website.