If you are awaiting a verdict, “guilty” is probably the word you dread hearing. What happens if the trial ends in a guilty verdict? It’s not the end of the line yet; you still have the option to appeal. Here’s how the appeals process works.
What is an Appeal?
An appeal is a challenge to the ruling of your case based on the grounds that the trial was somehow flawed or the judge made a substantial mistake that affected the outcome of your case. Cases are appealed if there is sufficient evidence showing that these flaws or trial errors were significant enough to affect the outcome of the trial.
If you do decide to appeal, you must show that there has been an error of law that affected the outcome of your case–not that the jury was mistaken in finding you guilty.
How long do you have to appeal?
If you decide to appeal, you have 30 days after the judge announces his/her verdict.
Who is eligible to request an appeal?
If you are found guilty by trial, you already have the right to appeal. If you plead guilty as part of a plea bargain, an appeal may be more difficult to initiate, however, under certain circumstances, may be successfully presented.
Who decides whether a case will be appealed?
A panel of judges known as the appellate court will decide whether your trial should be “reversed” or not. Your defense lawyer will put together a legal document called a “brief” describing why your guilty verdict should be reversed or otherwise changed.
Types of Legal Errors
A trial could have the following errors, which may or may not constitute grounds for your appeal:
- Harmless Error – An error that does not affect the outcome of the trial.
- Invited Error – An error that results in a verdict that the defendant (or the defendant’s council) asked for.
- Reversible Error – An error that results in the appellate court overturning the trial court’s decision
- Harmful Error – An error that significantly affects the outcome of a trial.
- Fundamental Error – An error that will result in a new trial, regardless of whether the defending party brings it up or not.
What Constitutes an Error?
The legal system is extremely complex and detailed, and one slip of a detail could qualify as a trial error. For example, members of the jury might have been seated despite a clear bias, or perhaps a piece of evidence did not meet the requirements to be admissible in court.
Possible Outcomes for an Appeal
Appeals are not always successful. In fact, sometimes an appeal can end the case completely. In this case, the appellate court decides there is insufficient evidence to change the outcome of the case.
Successful appeals usually restore the case back to the initial stages.
Getting your case appealed is a matter of knowledge, precision, and aggressive representation. If you need a criminal defense lawyer in Las Vegas, contact the office of Gabriel Grasso at (702) 868-8866 to get legal representation today.