If you are arrested and charged with a crime, your case may be dismissed before going to full trial. If you do go to trial, you may be acquitted on a number of grounds.
But, what happens if you are convicted?
Depending on the crime in question, a conviction could mean paying fines, community service or serving jail time. Fortunately, a conviction is probably not the end of the road. The law allows you to appeal most criminal convictions. Making mistakes during a criminal appeal, however, can be very detrimental, especially when your freedom or even life is on the line. Here are two common missteps that can ruin your appeal:
1. Ignoring the appellate timelines
While pronouncing its verdict, the court will often inform you about your right to an appeal and the time frame within which you can do so. If you plan to appeal your conviction, it is important that you do not let this timeline run out, or your appeal can be permanently time-barred.
2. Failing to establish the basis for your appeal
An appeal is not a new trial. Rather, it is your defense’s opportunity to point out prosecutor or procedural mistakes that unfairly tilted the verdict against you. Mere dissatisfaction with the verdict cannot be a basis for an appeal. You need solid grounds such as specific violations of your rights during the trial or procedural mistakes to successfully appeal a conviction.
Protecting your rights
If you believe you are about to pay the price for a crime you did not commit, you need to take steps to appeal the trial court’s decision. Learning more about the federal appeals process can help you safeguard your rights and interests while appealing a criminal conviction.