A conviction is a scary thing. Your mind will likely flood with questions about what the future holds now. Will you go to jail? Will you lose your job? What will happen to your record and reputation?
The first thing to do is take a deep breath and remember that you have options. One of those could be filing an appeal. In Pennsylvania, anyone can appeal their criminal conviction. Earning a positive result - whether the overturning of your conviction, a resentencing or a retrial - however, is a difficult task. You will need the right legal advice in your corner.
How Appeals Work
Many people think that an appeal means they simply mount a whole new defense. In an appeal, the appellate court will only reexamine your original trial to determine if you have a case. They will consider no new evidence or information. Instead, you can argue on one of the following grounds:
- The judge made a serious error in applying the law.
- The evidence does not justify the verdict.
- The judge abused his or her power in making a ruling.
- You received ineffective counsel, which affected your ability to receive a fair trial. This does not simply mean that you didn't like your lawyer.
Contact An Attorney Today
When you obtain an attorney, whether it is the attorney who originally handled your case or a new attorney, he or she should be experienced with presenting appeals. They will know how to look at the evidence and transcripts of your original case to write a compelling brief. Your attorney also may have to make an oral argument before the court.
This is a process that can take several months to unfold. However, there are important deadlines that will arise soon after the conclusion of your original case that you must meet if you want to file an appeal. Contact an appellate attorney as soon as possible, so that you do not jeopardize your right to seek an appeal.