If you receive an unfavorable outcome in a criminal case, you have the right to appeal it. This means that you think that the judge or jury erred in such a way that it led to an improper decision. Let’s take a closer look at what an appeal is, who can file one and what happens if your appeal is denied.
An appeal is a review of actions taken by a trial court
It’s critical to understand that an appeal does not grant you the right to a new trial. Instead, you are asking an appellate court to review the actions of the trial court, and your objective is to prove that the lower court failed to abide by established law. If the appellate court finds that this is true in your case, it will likely be sent back to the lower court to be retried.
Who can file an appeal?
In a civil case, either party has the right to appeal the decision. In a criminal trial, only the defendant has the right to appeal a conviction, and this is because allowing the prosecution to appeal an acquittal might result in a scenario in which a person is effectively tried twice for the same crime. If a criminal appeal to the highest state court is denied, a defendant has the right to appeal to the Supreme Court. If that appeal is denied, the defendant’s sentence will likely be allowed to stand.
Typically, you have a limited window in which to file an appeal. After the deadline expires, an appellate court may refuse to consider your motion for reconsideration, which may limit your ability to have an unfavorable outcome modified or overturned entirely.