After a criminal trial ends in a conviction, you may have legal options for appealing to a higher court. If an error occurred during the court proceedings, you might get a new trial, or an appeals court could even set aside a conviction.
This process differs significantly from a trial and requires counsel from an East Windsor appeals lawyer. The legal team at Ruane Attorneys is prepared to help you seek relief from a wrongful conviction.
Your Right to Appeal a Conviction
The U.S. Constitution guarantees every criminal defendant the right to a fair and speedy trial before a jury of their peers. Many appeals assert that a defendant’s trial was unfair because of error or misconduct. Other appeals challenge the fairness of the sentence the judge imposed.
A trial requires a lawyer to present persuasive evidence to a jury and discredit the prosecution’s evidence. Our East Windsor appeals attorneys work to find legal or factual errors or misconduct in the trial proceeding and present them to a panel of judges.
Legal counsel must demonstrate that the error or misconduct at the trial court made a difference in the outcome of a case. Not every mistake is grounds for appeal—only mistakes that impact the result.
Legal Grounds for an Appeal
Almost anything that influenced a criminal trial’s outcome or the defendant’s sentence could be grounds for an appeal. The defendant could appeal if a judge, prosecutor, or defense lawyer’s mistake, improper action, or inaction resulted in an unfair conviction or sentence.
Some issues often arise in criminal appeals, such as the admissibility of evidence. Our appeals lawyers in East Windsor might argue that a jury heard evidence that should have been excluded or that evidence helpful to the defendant was wrongly excluded. We might argue that a judge wrongfully allowed a jury to see or hear prejudicial evidence.
Criminal appeals also might claim that the prosecutor or judge made a mistake interpreting the law or provided improper instructions to the jury. A defendant could argue that the jury was not representative or that one or more jurors engaged in misconduct. Defendants appealing criminal convictions often argue that their defense lawyer did not provide effective representation.
Appellate Procedure in East Windsor
Connecticut General Statute §54-95 outlines the process for criminal appeals. A convicted defendant must request a new trial or appeal within 20 days of their conviction. In most cases, the sentence is stayed—meaning that the defendant does not begin serving the sentence—until a higher court decides on the appeal.
A local attorney could prepare a brief outlining the issues underlying the appeal and submit it to the court. The court then schedules an oral argument, where the attorneys for each side make their arguments and answer questions from the judges. The appellate court could order one of four actions:
- Affirm the lower court’s ruling and deny the appeal
- Cite an error and send the case back to the lower court to correct it
- Reverse the lower court’s decision
- Reverse the lower court’s decision and send the case back to the lower court
If the state Appellate Court heard the appeal and it was unsuccessful, the defendant could appeal to the state Supreme Court.
If the defendant is out on bail, they remain free during the appeal process unless the judge revokes bail. A judge must issue an order describing the reasons for the decision. If an appeal fails, the defendant usually must begin serving their sentence immediately. Any time served before losing the appeal is credited toward the defendant’s sentence.
Contact an East Winder Appeals Attorney Immediately After Conviction
The appeals process could take many months, but you have just a few days to file your appeal after being convicted. Preserve your rights by contacting an East Windsor appeals lawyer immediately after you are convicted.
Just because you are convicted at trial does not mean you are out of options. Ruane Attorneys is prepared to help you seek justice after a wrongful conviction. Contact us today to set up a consultation.