Hearing the jury come back with a guilty verdict doesn’t have to be the end of the road for a defendant. Sometimes there are circumstances that prevent people from mounting a thorough and successful defense in criminal court.
For those whose situation meets certain requirements, it may be possible to appeal a criminal conviction. You can’t just appeal because you aren’t happy with the conviction. You need to have a reason to appeal. The three reasons below are among the most common reasons that people appeal their criminal convictions.
The court made a mistake in its interpretation of the law
If you believe that your circumstances warrant a different interpretation of legal statutes, you may be able to request an appeal. For example, if a judge made a decision early in your case that your lawyer believes was wrong, you could potentially appeal the conviction by challenging that faulty legal determination.
Your lawyer did not provide you with adequate representation
You trust your attorney to help you out, but whether they were too busy to give your case their full focus or they took a case in an area of criminal defense that they had little experience with, they may not have given you adequate legal advice. If you can show that your lawyer’s actions or negligence led to your conviction, you may be able to appeal.
You have reason to believe the judge or jury were not fully impartial
Have you found out after your conviction that the judge is a cousin of the alleged victim? Did a member of the jury have some kind of personal bias that they did not disclose to the court but you have since learned about? If you can show that a juror or the judge was not truly impartial when making decisions about your case, you may be able to appeal.
Those appealing a criminal conviction have to accept that the appeals process may take even longer than the process of going to trial initially. However, with the right help, an appeal could help you undo a miscarriage of justice.