DeKalb County Appeals Lawyer 

A guilty verdict can leave you feeling hopeless, but fortunately, there are numerous ways to contest a court’s decision. However, you should not take on the judicial system alone because of the technical legal issues involved. Your chances of successfully changing the outcome of your case could increase significantly if you enlist the help of an experienced DeKalb County appeals lawyer. A legal professional skilled in this area of criminal defense could allow you to meet all of the necessary requirements to appeal your conviction.

Reasons for Challenging a Court’s Decision

Judges, juries, and lawyers are all susceptible to making mistakes during criminal cases. Any number of things can transpire during a trial, resulting in a wrongful conviction. The most common missteps include:

  • Errors in admitting evidence
  • Faulty jury instructions
  • Improper sentencing 

A DeKalb County appellate lawyer could determine the best legal argument to attack trial-level errors and fight for a better result for the accused. 

Starting the Process 

Some people assume that the only way to challenge a criminal conviction is by filing an appeal, but this path is not always the most effective choice for each individual. In many cases, requesting a new trial makes more sense. 

The Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 5-5-40(a) requires a defendant to submit a new trial motion within 30 days of the verdict. If the trial judge agrees that a legal error occurred, under O.C.G.A. §§ 5-5-20 through 5-5-24, they may grant the motion, giving the defendant a “do-over.” 

The most powerful reason for requesting a new trial is to put additional evidence into the record. Parties may not introduce new evidence or witnesses before the appellate panel. The higher court will decide the matter based solely on the record established at trial. A local attorney familiar with the appeals process could make every effort to present a complete picture of the case’s events to the appellate court. 

Potential Outcomes of an Appeal

After a definitive trial level decision, defendants have the right to a direct appeal to the next level court. O.C.G.A. § 5-6-38(a) requires a person to file this appeal within 30 days of completing trial-level proceedings.

An appeals panel may reverse the trial court’s conclusion, but several other outcomes are just as likely. The court could uphold the conviction, reduce an excessive sentence, or order a new trial. If the case is not reversed or sent back to trial, there may be other opportunities for review.

Beyond a Direct Appeal 

Defendants who do not receive the desired result on appeal may file a request with the Georgia Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court, as is appropriate, to review their cases. This filing is called a Writ of Certiorari. At both the state and federal level, acceptance of the appeal is not guaranteed. The justices will decide whether to hear the case. If they decline, the review process generally ends. 

The only options left to defendants at this point would be habeas corpus petitions, which review trial proceedings for constitutional rights violations, and extraordinary motions, which defendants file if new evidence comes to light after the trial’s conclusion. A DeKalb County lawyer who frequently practices in the appellate arena may help guide those convicted at all stages of this process.  

Entrust Your Case to a DeKalb County Appeals Attorney

Challenging a criminal court’s decision is a long and demanding process. Your best chances of success may rest with a DeKalb County appeals lawyer who regularly represents clients in the higher courts. The outcome of an appellate case can mean everything to you and your family, and a qualified attorney could give your case the attention it deserves. Call today and learn more about your next steps.