Criminal Appeal Lawyers in Atlanta, GA
Appeal Counsel in Georgia
If you were wrongly convicted or sentenced unfairly, you have options. Defendants have the right to appeal a conviction and / or sentence. An appeal is not an immediate retrial but rather a review of trial records to determine whether proceedings were conducted fairly and in accordance with the law. Appellate court judges look for errors that were significant enough to have affected the outcome of the trial in some way. If such errors are found, the appellate court may call for a retrial of the case or may reverse the decision of the trial court.
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Criminal appeals are an important part of our Atlanta criminal defense practice. A criminal conviction, although certainly a serious matter, does not signify the end of the road for a defendant. There is hope in the form of an appeal, which can be filed at either a state or federal court level, depending on the level of the court in which the defendant was convicted. As an Atlanta criminal defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor, founding Attorney Howard J. Weintraub is uniquely qualified to represent clients who wish to appeal their convictions. Mr. Weintraub has led our firm in representing defendants in state and federal courts since 1985 and is committed to seeking the best possible result in every case.
How Does an Appeal Work?
In filing an appeal, the following takes place:
- Argue Case: Defendant (now called an appellant) has the chance to argue that the case should be dismissed or retried based on key legal mistakes.
- Submit Brief: The appellant submits a written "brief" to the appellate court, along with a copy of the transcript from the trial and any exhibits that were used during the trial. The prosecution will also have the opportunity to submit a brief.
- Oral Arguments: The appellate court may hear oral arguments from both parties, depending on the case, but these are usually quite brief and focus on technical, legal matters applicable to the appeal.
- Review Records: The appellate court judges will review the trial record. In this review, they will look for errors that were significant enough to affect the outcome of the case. They may disregard minor errors that had no impact on the verdict.
- Deciding the Verdict: The appellate court may decide that the verdict and sentence should remain as-is. In this case, the appellant may have the opportunity to file an appeal with another, higher court.
What Happens if There Were Errors Made During the Trial?
If the appellate court decides that fundamental and harmful errors were made in the trial, the court may decide that the case should be retried. The appellate court may also decide to overturn the verdict or alter the sentence. It is also possible that the prosecution may decide to dismiss the case after a defendant successfully appeals a conviction.
For example, the appellate court may decide that key evidence, upon which the primary part of the prosecution's case was based, should not be admissible in court. This may destroy the prosecution's case and the prosecuting attorney may see it in the government's best interests to drop charges rather than face a retrial that would likely be won by the defendant.
Talk to a Criminal Appeal Attorney in Atlanta
Every case is different and the manner in which you can file an appeal may vary. One thing is certain, however: you must act quickly. You have a limited time to file an appeal after a criminal conviction. If you wait too long, you may lose your right to appeal your conviction.
If you would like to discuss this matter in more detail, please contact our firm. Our criminal appeal lawyers can advise you of your rights and options as they apply to your unique case.