Losing a criminal trial can be devastating for a defendant and their loved ones.
After a serious charge, the defendant faces the possibility of an immediate arrest and incarceration, even while they are waiting for their sentence.
In any event, the defendant receives a criminal conviction and all the penalties that go with it, including fines and a lengthy jail sentence.
They also have to deal with the professional and personal fallout of being convicted of a crime. A professional or business executive, for example, may lose their ability to work in their professions.
All of this will happen even if the defendant feels that the result of their trial was unfair.
The good news is that, while this is a difficult situation, defendants have some options to continue their legal battle.
Defendants can appeal their cases after an unfavorable criminal trial
For example, in both state and federal court, a defendant may choose to appeal after an unfavorable result at a trial. Generally, they may choose to appeal even if they manage to avoid some of the charges or to receive a sentence that was lighter than expected.
The rules governing how one goes about an appeal depends on whether a person faced charges in state or federal court. However, in either court, these rules are complicated. Furthermore, missing a key deadline or making a serious procedural mistake can forfeit a person’s option to appeal.
It is also important to remember that an appeal is not a do-over of a trial. During an appeal, the defendant will have to convince an appellate court that their conviction or sentence is legally flawed.
If the defendant succeeds, then the appellate court may simply change the result or may order a new trial.
Other legal options may also be available to those who were improperly convicted.