What Should You Know Before Appealing Your Criminal Conviction

13 July 2017
 Categories: , Blog


Being convicted of a crime, even a misdemeanor, can have ripple effects throughout your life. A criminal conviction on your record can affect the types of jobs you may be able to apply for and even where you can live. Depending upon the circumstances of your conviction and the conditions of any probation, you may also be required to pay some hefty fees and fines before your probationary period can end.

However, the appellate process can be complicated and sometimes expensive, and appealing your conviction to your state's highest court may not always be the best option. Read on to learn more about a few of the factors you'll want to consider before filing an appeal of your criminal conviction.

Your Legal Grounds

Because the trial court judge (or jury) is in a unique position as fact finder, seeing documents and hearing witness testimony firsthand, appellate courts will provide a great deal of discretion to the decisions and evidentiary rulings made by the trial judge; ruling on a "paper record" without having the opportunity to assess credibility or weigh evidence can put the appellate court in a weaker position to discern the truth. 

With this in mind, you'll want to have a strong case for appeal before you consider filing. If your conviction hinged upon the admissibility of a crucial bit of evidence you don't feel was relevant or properly authenticated, having this evidence excluded could overturn your conviction on appeal; however, a conviction that's well-supported by multiple pieces of evidence is unlikely to fare the same way.

Potential Outcomes

In some cases, having your conviction overturned or vacated on appeal will do nothing more but send it back to the trial court for further proceedings. While you may expect the appellate court to exonerate you entirely, the trial court may be able to try and convict you again (using the appellate opinion as guidance on what went wrong during the original process). Doing so won't violate double jeopardy restrictions, as the original jeopardy disappears upon the issuance of an appellate opinion reversing the trial court on a certain point.

Because of this, it's important to evaluate all the potential outcomes available to you before filing suit. You don't want to embark on this process and invest time and money into an eventual outcome that may be harsher or more stringent than the criminal sentence and probation terms you originally faced. To find out more, visit websites like http://www.pedersonlawrc.com.