Among the options any person has after being convicted of a crime is the right to appeal to have a criminal conviction overturned or sentence reduced. Appeals may be discretionary or as of right. For example, in the federal system, there is an appeal of right from the District Court to the Court of Appeals but appeals from the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court are discretionary. Any individual convicted at a bench or jury trial in a California trial court (California Superior Court) has the right to appeal the conviction.
An appeal is not a new trial but a limited review of a conviction by the appellate court, which does not accept new evidence, retry the case or hear testimony from witnesses. The appellate court reviews the lower court’s proceedings and examines the rulings of the judge to determine whether any errors occurred that substantially affected either party’s rights.
When appealing a criminal case in California, an appellant must strictly observe the numerous timeframes and deadlines imposed by California’s law of appellate procedure. First, an appellant must file a notice of appeal within 30 or 60 depending on whether the offense is a misdemeanor or felony.
A felony Notice of Appeal must be filed within 60 days of the judgment or order from which the appellant is appealing. A misdemeanor Notice of Appeal must be filed within 30 days of the relevant judgment or order. Failure to comply with these deadlines has severe consequences as late-filed appeals will not be accepted by the appellate court. The trial record or some statement of the lower proceedings must be verified and once this occurs, both parties present written briefs and oral argument. The appellate court then makes its decision to uphold or overturn the lower court’s ruling.
While the likelihood of succeeding to overturn a conviction on appeal is relatively low, of course, taking into consideration that every case is unique, appealing a criminal conviction, whether for a misdemeanor or felony, is always an option to be considered by any defendant. An experienced California criminal defense attorney who has handled criminal cases for decades will be able to recognize those erroneous rulings which may be susceptible on appeal, as well as present the crux of the defendant’s argument on appeal within the rules of appellate procedure efficiently, effectively, and persuasively.
The laws that apply to criminal appeals in California differ significantly from those that apply to trial proceedings in lower courts. Mere errors, failures, or delays related to strictly complying with the precise rules of California appellate procedure may substantially jeopardize an appeal. An experienced criminal attorney may help ensure that an appeal brings the best possible result.
A California post-conviction relief lawyer may provide more information and answer questions about the various types of post-conviction relief available in California. John Patrick Dolan is a California State Bar Certified Specialist in Criminal Law, the highest achievement awarded by the State Bar of California to attorneys in the field of criminal law. The advice, guidance, and representation of experienced criminal defense counsel may be crucial to achieving the best possible result in any criminal matter. John Patrick Dolan has forty years of criminal defense experience. Contact Dolan Law Offices today at 760-775-3739 or 562-824-4007 to discuss your situation or find out more online here.