It is essential to know that your trial’s verdict is not necessarily the end of your case. You have the right to appeal the decision made by the primary court. The United States Constitution guarantees the right to an attorney during your first appeal, and you should exercise that right. Don’t miss out on the opportunity of a possible second chance; take your case to the Court of Appeals. A Salt Lake City criminal appeals attorney can help you navigate through the appeals process. For a free, confidential consultation on your case, call Darwin Overson at (801) 758-2287 today.
What is the Criminal Appeals Process in Utah?
The appeals process is the stage of a case that takes place after trial and sentencing by the primary court. Appealing allows you to question legal errors in your case. It is essential to understand that appealing your case does not mean you get an additional trial. Instead, the appeal exists to review the arguments and proceedings from your trial.
Specifically, during your appeal, a panel of judges will review your case to see if there were errors during your trial or the judge’s interpretation of the law. Primarily, you cannot exercise your right to appeal based on the fact you lost your case. There has to be a compelling legal reason to activate an appeal.
The Court of Appeals can make a decision based on the written arguments set forth by the parties or by holding oral arguments. The purpose behind both methods is to improve an appeals judge’s understanding of the case and the legal arguments.
Be mindful that every little error is not necessarily enough to reverse or remand your case. The failure had to be serious enough that it harmed your right to a fair trial. For instance, if you face criminal charges, and the lower court judge admitted illegally seized evidence, then you would have grounds for an appeal because this violates your constitutional rights and makes the trial unfair.
After considering your case, the appeal judges will make a decision, and a designated judge will draft an opinion based on their findings. An appeals judge could “remand” the case based on the errors they found. Remanding a case means the trial court made serious errors that must be addressed according to the reviewing court’s instructions. An appeals court can often remand the case for retrial, which says that the first trial was so unfair that you deserve a second chance. This gives you a fresh shot at a second trial with a new jury.
Reasons to Appeal your Criminal Charges
As we said at the beginning of this article, the trial court’s decision is not the end of the road for you. You should take advantage of the possibilities an appeal could provide. However, remember that you cannot appeal the lower court’s decision indiscriminately. There are several “grounds” for taking your case to the Court of Appeals, including the following:
Errors on Admissibility of Evidence
To ensure all parts receive a fair trial during a criminal case, the U.S. Constitution guarantees courts must comply with the Rules of Evidence. For instance, the Rules of Evidence prevent irrelevant evidence, evidence of the defendant’s bad character, statements made out of court, and other potentially harmful evidence from being used at trial. If a court wrongly admits inadmissible evidence that hurts your case, your criminal defense attorney could file an appeal.
The protections against illegal search and seizure mean that the government cannot use illegally obtained evidence against you. If you were stopped in an illegal traffic stop, you were arrested without probable cause, or evidence was seized without a proper warrant or probable cause, all evidence stemming from those events must be “suppressed.” If the judge allows this evidence to be used against you anyway, your constitutional rights were violated and your case should be overturned on appeal.
Judges use sentencing guidelines to assign the appropriate penalties for each crime. Generally, all crimes have their own set of sanctions, and a judge cannot impose penalties as he or she sees fit. If the judge issued a sentence that is higher than the statutory maximum without following proper procedures, your case sentence should be lowered. Additionally, if the statutory minimum sentence was increased without the necessary evidence, your sentence should also be lowered.
Criminal Appeals Attorney Serving Salt Lake City, Utah
Not all hope is lost after a conviction. A skilled Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer can help you decide whether you have the basis to file an appeal. If you or a loved one was found guilty of a crime in Salt Lake City or anywhere else in Utah, an appeal could be available. To learn more about your case in a free, confidential consultation, call Overson Law at (801) 758-2287 today.