After hearing a guilty verdict, you may be looking at some serious penalties, but completing your sentence is not inevitable. An experienced lawyer could help fight for your rights.
Contact a Fulton County appeals lawyer to explore your options and craft an appeal that may reinstate your freedom and reputation.
Appellate practice is a specialized area of litigation, as filing and arguing an appeal is very different from trial work. Although successful and adept at the trial level, many lawyers falter when taking on an appeal. Appellate courts have distinct rules and requirements, and lawyers refine their appellate legal skills over years of appearing before these courts of review.
It is essential for a defendant to have confident, skilled counsel arguing on their behalf as soon as possible because a defendant’s chances of reducing their sentence or winning their freedom are narrowing. Attorneys successful in this area focus on appealing convictions and develop a deep understanding of the process, rules, and methods for amending adverse trial determinations.
While all defendants hope the review of their convictions will lead to dismissal and elimination of their sentences, this is only one of the possible results. Other resolutions can include:
To achieve the best outcome, it is advisable that a defendant retain an experienced Fulton County appeals attorney.
An appeal is an official request that a higher-level court reviews a trial court’s decisions to ensure that everything proceeded correctly and fairly according to the law. Arguments that something went wrong at the trial level often focus on inappropriate admission of evidence, incorrect jury instructions, excessive sentencing, and ineffective assistance of counsel. These assertions may be the basis for a new trial motion or a direct appeal.
Before resorting to a Court of Appeals review, some defendants may benefit by filing a new trial request before the trial judge. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 5-5-40 requires defendants to submit these motions within 30 days of verdicts.
Appellate judges decide reviews based solely on the facts presented at trial and the legal arguments made before them. Parties may not introduce any new evidence, so filing this motion is typically a good option when evidence is missing from the record.
O.C.G.A. § 5-6-33 provides criminal defendants the right to appeal all convictions except murder to the state court of appeals. Murder cases go directly to the Georgia Supreme Court. The defendant and the State will submit briefs to an appellate panel arguing their positions for reversal or affirmation of the conviction. The judges may request attorneys representing each side to appear for oral arguments, and each side presents their case and answers the judges’ questions.
If the appellate court rules against the defendant, the defendant and their Fulton County attorney may petition the Georgia Supreme Court to review the case further. However, the court is not required to hear such cases. Instead, they grant review when the justices deem it appropriate. Once the supreme court process is complete, a defendant’s only options are state or federal Writs of Habeas Corpus contending the abridgment of constitutional rights.
This process can be long and arduous. Without the assistance of a well-trained appellate litigator, a defendant may undermine their chances of a successful resolution to their case.
While you still have options after losing your case at trial, you want to make good decisions going forward. The best way to challenge a criminal conviction is often to hire a knowledgeable Fulton County appeal lawyer committed to seeking justice for you. To begin building your case, call today.