If you’ve been convicted of a crime in California, filing an appeal could be your key to freedom. But the process isn’t as straightforward as you may think. One of the most common questions we get from our clients is: “Will I be released if I win my appeal?”
Unfortunately, the answer is often no. Although it is possible to obtain a provisional release from prison or jail while the appeal is pending, the final appeal order doesn’t usually make release permanent. In most cases, the appeal will order the trial court to give you a new trial or sentencing hearing–and if you’re successful in those proceedings, you can be permanently released from incarceration.
The appeals process moves fast in California. The success of an appeal typically depends on your lawyer’s ability to identify a serious error in your trial, quickly develop a legal argument in your favor, and effectively present it to the appeals court.
At Spolin Law P.C., we are highly experienced criminal appeals lawyers and our team has a proven track record of success in the California appeals process. For a free consultation about your appeal options, call (310) 424-5816 today.
Can I Be Released While My Appeal Is Pending?
California law gives criminal defendants the right to request their release while their appeal is pending. This enables them to avoid the hardships of jail and to spend time with their family while the justice system ultimately decides their fate.
According to California Penal Code section 1272.1, a court must release you on bail if you and your attorney can provide evidence that:
- You are not likely to flee
- You are not a danger to other people or to the community, and
- The appeal raises a substantial legal issue
If the court grants your motion, they may temporarily release you on your own recognizance or set bail. If the bail they set is too high, your attorney can file a separate motion to request a lower amount. Succeeding in this motion is extremely important, because the appeals process can sometimes last up to two years.
A Successful Appeal Usually Results in a Retrial
The specific benefit you receive from a successful appeal depends on the legal arguments raised by your lawyers. The process and results will be significantly different depending on whether your lawyer files a standard appeal or a writ of habeas corpus. A habeas corpus petition will focus on obtaining your freedom directly, but an appeal is more complex.
Your appeal can result in the following outcomes:
- Denial — In this case, your initial trial verdict and judgement remain in place and you’ll have to serve the rest of your sentence.
- Remand for retrial — If the appeals court concludes that the trial judge made a mistake in your case that caused an unfair disadvantage, they’ll order a new trial for you. This gives you a new chance to prove your innocence or to negotiate a better plea bargain.
- Remand for resentencing — If the prejudicial error happened at the sentencing stage, then the appeals court will order a new sentencing hearing. You cannot undo your criminal conviction, but you can argue for a more lenient sentence.
- Reversal and acquittal — In some cases, the appeals court may find that the evidence against you was legally insufficient for the judge or jury to find you guilty. In this case, the appeals court may reverse the judgement and vacate your conviction. This is the only scenario where an appeal directly results in your release.
Call a California Appeals Lawyer Today
If you want to learn more about the appeals process, you should act fast and call a California appeals lawyer. If you’ve been convicted of a crime, you only have a limited time to file an appeal. Once the deadline passes, you will typically not be able to file an appeal — although a lawyer may be able to file a writ of habeas corpus on your behalf. Winning the fight for your freedom after a conviction is never easy, but it can be done.
Call Spolin Law P.C. today at (310) 424-5816 for a free consultation about reversing a California criminal conviction.