A criminal trial can be a long and emotionally taxing experience for anyone. If you are convicted, it may feel like the final nail in your coffin. However, convicted defendants may have options for relief beyond their conviction. Almost all criminal defendants who are convicted have a right to file an appeal of their conviction. Appeals occur after your trial and after your sentencing hearing, but exactly when a person should begin the appeals process is an important question.
When you should file your appeal may depend on factors specific to your case. In general, if you know you have valid grounds for an appeal, you should speak to a lawyer and begin the appeals process as soon as possible. If you are unsure about your grounds for appeal, you may be able to wait for new developments before filing. However, any direct appeal will usually come with strict 30-day deadline. Missing the deadline may mean waiving your appellate rights.
If you were convicted of a crime in Utah and wish to explore your appellate options, speak with an attorney immediately. Our Salt Lake City criminal appeals lawyers are here to help you through this difficult process. For a free and confidential consultation with our team regarding your case, call Overson & Bugden at (801) 758-2287.
The Best Time to File a Criminal Appeal in Utah
The best time to file an appeal is usually sooner rather than later. Direct appeals have a tight deadline and appellants must act quickly to get their petitions in on time. Filing right away is good for direct appeals and any case where your appealable issued are clear. However, there may be circumstances in other types of appeals where waiting can be beneficial.
If you have exhausted your options for a direct appeal, you may be able to file an indirect or collateral appeal. Depending on your case, waiting on this type of appeal may have certain advantages as the time to file is usually longer. For example, if you are filing for relief under Utah’s Postconviction Remedies Act (PCRA), you are allowed a much wider time window to file your appeal. This greater amount of time allows you more opportunities to investigate your claims and strengthen your case. It also allows you more time to realize any errors that may constitute grounds for relief under the PCRA. You and your attorney may not realize that a reversible error occurred right away. Some defendants may only discover the mistake after consulting with a different lawyer. See below for more information about filing under the PCRA.
However, no matter when you file, you must always obey the deadlines. Taking your time may be helpful, but missing the filing deadline could cost you your entire appeal. If you wish to appeal your criminal conviction, consult with our Orem criminal defense lawyers.
When You Should File a Direct Appeal for a Criminal Case in Utah
After a criminal conviction and sentencing, a defendant has no more than 30 days to file their appeal. If you miss this deadline, you may effectively waive your direct appellate rights. It is possible to file a motion requesting more time. However, you will need a good reason. Poor time management is never a good reason.
This relatively narrow time window means that filing a direct appeal should be done relatively quickly, if not right away. Any appealable issues on direct appeal will have already occurred at trial, so there is not much need for waiting. In fact, any issues you wish to have heard on direct appeal must be preserved at trial as they happen. As such, attorneys often know what they want to appeal as soon as their client is convicted.
The time window for filing a direct appeal is small and any issues for appeal are usually known ahead of time. Therefore, it is not necessary to wait very long to file your direct appeal. Filing as soon as possible may demonstrate to a court that you are serious about your case and wish to correct significant errors immediately. To begin your direct appeal, call our Utah criminal defense lawyers as soon as you can.
When to File for Relief Under Utah’s Post-Conviction Remedies Act
If you are unsuccessful on direct appeal, you may also file for relief under the Postconviction Remedies Act. The PCRA allows convicted defendants to file an indirect appeal up to one year after the date your cause of action starts. Under the PCRA, that date will be different depending on your circumstances. If a direct appeal is taken, the date may be the same as the appellate court’s final decision. If no direct appeal is taken, the date may be the last day to file a direct appeal from the conviction. Speak to an attorney as soon as possible to determine when your PCRA deadline is.
Filing under the PCRA allows more time because the reasons for the appeal may not be obvious right away. The PCRA allows for more limited grounds for appeal:
- A conviction or sentence in violation of the state or U.S. Constitution
- A conviction or sentence that was obtained or imposed under a statute that violates the state or U.S. Constitution
- A sentence that was imposed in violation of a controlling statute
- Ineffective assistance of counsel
- Newly discovered evidence
- A new rule from the United States Supreme Court, the Utah Supreme Court, or the Utah Court of Appeals entitles the defendant to relief
- The defendant committed certain crimes while under force, fraud, or coercion
These grounds for relief are not always immediately apparent, making the larger time window necessary. For example, a defendant may not realize they received ineffective assistance of counsel at their trial until they speak with another attorney about their case. Similarly, new rules might not be set or new evidence might not be discovered until sometime after the defendant’s conviction.
If you have the grounds to appeal, do it as soon as you can. If you are interested in filing for relief under Utah’s PCRA, contact our Provo criminal defense lawyers for assistance.
Contact Our Utah Criminal Appeals Attorneys for a Free Legal Consultation
If you or someone close to you has recently been convicted of a crime, you should speak to a lawyer about appealing the conviction. Our Utah criminal appeals attorneys can help you file your appeal and argue for relief. For a legal consultation, call Overson & Bugden at (801) 758-2287.