Criminal appeal rights are important legal rights that anyone accused of a crime should be familiar with. The criminal justice system and process can be intimidating which is why those impacted by it should be familiar with their criminal justice rights and the criminal appeals process.
There are some basic situations when a criminal appeal may be possible including:
- The lower court made a serious error of law – a plain error is an error that impacts the substantial rights of the accused individual.
- The evidence, and weight of the evidence, does not support the verdict that was reached – because appeals courts are not the finders of fact which is the role of the lower court, it can be difficult to pursue an appeal based on insufficient weight of evidence but not impossible.
- The lower court abused its discretion in making an errant ruling – judges have some discretion in making their rulings, however, it is possible for them to abuse that discretion if they make a ruling that is unreasonable, erroneous, arbitrary or not supported by the law or facts.
- The accused individual has a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel under the Sixth Amendment – accused individuals have a constitutional right to adequate counsel and representation. If the accused individual’s representation was ineffective to the extent that it produced an unjust result, it may be grounds for appeal.
Criminal defense protections are vital for accused individuals to be familiar with including post-conviction relief options. They can be essential for any accused individual facing the weight of the criminal justice system.