Many people accused of a criminal offense plead guilty. Even those who know they are innocent may fear the expense and public scrutiny that comes with a trial. However, those who want to protect their reputations or careers may choose to fight their criminal charges.
Unfortunately, some people will still wind up convicted despite their attempts to fight back against pending criminal charges. Sometimes, the recently convicted defendants may be in a position to appeal their convictions. When might an appeal or other post-conviction relief be an option for you after a conviction in criminal court?
When new evidence surfaces
Perhaps it is only after the prosecutor convicts you that a witness speaks up or the police find the alleged weapon used in the offense. When there is new evidence that could potentially change the way the courts view the case, you may sometimes be able to request an appeal. Sometimes, the courts might agree that the evidence exonerates you. Other times, they may grant you a new trial and therefore a second opportunity to prove your innocence using that new evidence.
When there was a noteworthy misinterpretation of the law
Often, criminal appeals focus on how the courts interpreted a certain law or legal precedent. It is possible for a judge to make a mistake in a criminal case, which might require an appeal so that a higher court can reverse that mistake or order the judge to reconsider their initial ruling. Challenging legal decisions from your initial trial could eventually help you reverse your conviction or prove your innocence.
When your attorney failed to provide you with adequate legal representation
Lawyers have a duty to their clients to understand the law and to act in their best interests. You can potentially appeal when you can show your attorney failed in their duty.
Maybe you worked with an attorney who had never tried this kind of criminal offense before, and they were unaware of crucial state laws or court president. Perhaps your lawyer was not fully committed to your case and failed to show up for court. Perhaps they had a conflict of interest that influence the standard of representation that they provided to you. Any of these issues could give you grounds for an appeal.
While you cannot appeal just because you are unhappy with the outcome of your case, there are many ways for you to fight an unfair conviction. Knowing when you have the right to appeal can help you better defend yourself.