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Going through a criminal court trial in California is a harrowing experience. However, it becomes a never-ending nightmare when you are wrongfully convicted of a crime. The good news is that verdicts can be appealed to a higher court. Taking a case to the Court of Appeals is neither a small nor an easy task. It requires a rare type of dedication, legal knowledge and professional skill. If you have been wrongfully convicted of a crime or if you believe that errors in your trial led to your conviction, then you need to speak with a Los Angeles criminal appeals attorney.
A Window of Opportunity
In most cases, the appeal must be filed within 60 days of the verdict. This doesn’t give your California criminal appeals attorney a great deal of time to act. However, it is sufficient to get a Notice of Appeal filed, after which much of the real work begins. Your criminal appeals attorney will minutely review every component of your trial, looking for mistakes that may have led to your conviction. Sometimes an inadmissible piece of evidence was introduced or an important bit of evidence that might have exonerated you was wrongfully held back. It may be that the wrong law was applied or that the jurors misunderstood their instructions. Whether the error was large or small, it is the job of the Los Angeles criminal appeals attorney to find it and exploit it.
Meeting With an Experienced Los Angeles Criminal Appeals Lawyer
During your initial consultation, you’ll explain your case to the attorney. Many convicted defendants meet with a potential appeals attorney along with the attorney who handled their criminal case. It can make a great deal of sense to bring these two legal professionals together to consult regarding your case. Occasionally, the same attorney who handled the initial trial will also be responsible for handling the criminal appeal. Many criminal defense practitioners are not comfortable taking on appeals, which is why they may recommend another firm that has lawyers with considerable appeals experience.
It’s important that you begin to build rapport with your California criminal appeals attorney. You will be working with this legal professional for a minimum of a year and perhaps for quite a bit longer. Accordingly, it’s helpful to like the attorney you work with and to feel that they are dedicated to winning your case. The California Court of Appeals only hears about 125 cases each year, and you want yours to be one of them. This means you must secure the services of a seasoned, hard-working criminal appeals attorney.
Appeals Are Not Trials
Many people who are considering an appeal are confused as to why their defense attorney wants them to select another lawyer to represent them in the appeal. This is because appeals are a distinct legal process that are very different from trials. From the rules to the courtrooms everything is different in the appeals process. While some attorneys are very comfortable with the trial court, they have little experience with criminal appeals. Knowing that an appeal is an uphill battle, they naturally want you to have the best representation available. The lawyers at this firm are as comfortable in trial court as they are in the Court of Appeals. No matter what stage of the appeals process you are in the practitioners at this Los Angeles criminal appeals firm are prepared to help you.
Preparing for California Criminal Appeals
Your appeals attorney will work closely with you to examine what happened during your trial. After obtaining transcripts and evidence the criminal appeals attorney spends weeks sifting through it, looking for and substantiating any errors. Relevant case law that may provide an important precedent for your case will also be reviewed. This requires a great deal of time and effort, but this research phase is often the part of the appeals process that ensures the success of your case.
With the research complete your appeals attorney will draft an opening brief. This is the defendant’s opportunity to state why they believe they are entitled to a new trial or other corrective action by the courts. In fact, the opening brief will specifically ask for an action from the court that could include having the conviction overturned, getting a new trial or receiving a lesser sentence.
The Oral Argument
A California criminal appeals attorney must be more than a great researcher and writer. It’s also necessary to develop skills as an orator. Three-judge panels usually make the decisions in the Court of Appeals. It is the job of the appeals attorney to make a clear, cogent argument in favor of their client’s appeal. The judges will probably have questions, and the appeals attorney must be able to answer these honestly and concisely. It’s essential for any Los Angeles criminal appeals lawyer to know the relevant law backwards and forwards in order to make a favorable impression, and that’s something that the attorneys at this firm manage on a regular basis.
Contact a Los Angeles Criminal Appeals Lawyer Today
Criminal appeals have strict regulations and deadlines. Contact us today to make certain you don’t miss a critical deadline. Appeals are often arduous and time consuming but they can also be immensely rewarding when there is an opportunity to see an injustice put right. Let our knowledgeable, hard-working and talented Los Angeles criminal appeals attorneys go to work for you.