Orange County Criminal Appeals Lawyer
The California criminal justice system is unfortunately far from perfect. Consequently, errors can result and lead to an unfair trial or unlawful conviction. However, California offers a defendant the right to appeal their conviction in the California Court of Appeal.
A successful appellate petition can mean the difference between having the entire conviction reversed or significantly reduce the sentence. Therefore, it’s important to retain an experienced and respected Orange County Criminal Appeals Lawyer when seeking post-conviction or high court relief.
What is the Difference between a Writ and an Appeal?
Just because the trial judge has decided on a certain issue, it does not mean that the court is correct. If there was a legal error, you are entitled to have it reviewed by a higher court.
The important difference between a writ and an appeal is the stage of the case. If there has been a finding of guilt and a formal sentence has been imposed, the proper vehicle for relief is an appeal. However, if the case has not been finalized, meaning there is no formal sentence imposed, then you must seek a writ.
Ordinarily, writs are filed during the pretrial stages of the case where an issue ruled upon could affect the outcome of the case.
What Does the Appellate Process Entail?
When seeking appellate relief after a conviction, a skilled Orange County criminal appeals lawyer will review the trial transcript in search of errors. The attorney will tediously draft an appellate brief outlining the issues and cite supporting law. Once the brief is submitted to the appellate court, the opposing party will have a chance to respond. After both parties have filed their briefs, the court will schedule a date to hear oral arguments on the merits.
Because the appellate court must review the trial transcript and submit an opinion as to their decision, it often takes months and sometimes years to hear their decision. If a party loses in the court of appeal, they may file a petition for review in the California Supreme Court or seek federal review in United States District Court.
What are Common Appellate Issues?
There are several issues commonly litigated at the appellate level, including:
- Ineffective Assistance of Trial Counsel
- Unreasonable Search and/or Seizure
- Insufficient Evidence to Support the Conviction(s)
- Admission of Prejudicial Evidence
- Prosecutorial Misconduct
- Jury Instructional Error
- Sentencing Error
Are There Important Legal Deadlines?
Once a judge issues a sentence, a defendant thereafter is given a deadline to file a notice of appeal. Failing to file a notice of appeal before the deadline will ordinarily bar their right to appeal. The following deadlines apply to after a judgment is imposed:
- 30 days for misdemeanors
- 60 days for felonies
What is a Motion for a New Trial?
Submitting a motion for a new trial is very beneficial for appellate lawyers. Typically, the new trial motion will contain arguments that can be re-litigated at the appellate level if the new trial motion is denied. New trial motions are also a tedious task and always worth the attempt to persuade the judge to vacate the finding of guilt and order a new trial on the merits. However, not every issue can be litigated, only certain issues are relevant to a new trial motion.
Contact an Orange County Criminal Appellate Lawyer
To schedule a free case evaluation concerning the process and advisement on the issues, contact an Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney. Not every lawyer is knowledgeable in the appellate procedure and could be doing their client a disservice by not properly litigating on their behalf. The standard is must different in the appellate level that most trial lawyers are not aware of. Contact us today to discuss your options.