A skilled criminal defense attorney makes objections during trial to alert the higher, or appellate court, about potential errors in the record that led to a gross miscarriage of justice in that particular case. If such a case ends with conviction, there may be grounds for appealing that conviction to a higher court. The Florida attorney general contests more than 10,000 appeals every year.
Appeals don’t question the jury’s verdict but instead looks at errors made throughout the entire criminal prosecution, including mistakes with motions, grand jury or preliminary hearing errors, or rulings during the trial.
If the appellate court reviews the trial record and finds errors, that alone will not result in a reversal of a conviction. However, if those errors during the trial are so serious or so numerous that they unfairly affected the outcome of the trial, then the appellate court may find grounds for reversing the conviction.
Things to know about appeals
If you’ve been convicted of a crime and feel there are grounds for an appeal of your conviction, you should know the following:
- Time is of the essence – There are strict time limits for filing an appeal; you might lose the right to appeal if you miss the deadlines.
- Issues are important – It’s up to you to identify the errors made by the trial judge and point specifically to the trial record to support your contentions.
- Your appeal must be in writing – You or your appellate attorney files your written appeal and responds in writing to the prosecutor’s written answer.
But before you do any of these things, you need to know whether there are grounds for appeal in your case. That’s why it important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can answer that question and begin the appeals process.