If the trial of your case did not result in the desired outcome, it doesn’t always mean the decision is final. If you’ve been convicted of a crime, you may have the option to appeal the decision. At the federal level, anyone convicted at trial by a guilty plea is entitled to a direct appeal to contest the conviction or sentence.
An appeal is a request to have a higher court to review a decision from a lower court. The Court of Appeals considers the proceedings that occurred in trial courts for errors of law or legal procedure.
How Appeals Work
There are many types of cases where an appeal is a possibility, ranging from serious criminal convictions to custody decisions.
It is essential to understand that an appeal is not a second trial or a retrial, as appeals differ from trials in rule and procedure. Appeals contest the outcome of a trial on the basis that there were factual, legal, or process-related mistakes made by the trial court. It is not time to present new evidence or facts about the case.
A case should be considered for appeal if the trial court misunderstood the facts of a case in its ruling or if the facts the judge used to make a decision were incorrect. Another example is a judge making a ruling based on a wrong understanding of North Carolina statutes.
Steps to File an Appeal
The steps may vary minimally from case to case, but in general, there are three steps:
- A trial transcript is requested as the basis for arguing that legal errors were made.
- An appellate brief is then prepared to explain these errors, referencing the record, and why they are errors.
- A judge will then render a decision after reading the briefs and, sometimes, hearing an oral argument.
Actions by the Court of Appeals
Once a party files an appeal after the trial court’s ruling, the case is transferred to the Court of Appeals. This court will review the trial testimony, evidence, and appellate briefs. These briefs are used to cite statutes or laws that support whether or not an error was made during the trial.
Upon reviewing these briefs, appellate judges make their rulings. There are several remedies the Court of Appeals can make. For example:
- They may order a new trial if the appeal is deemed to have merit.
- They may reverse the decision of the trial court.
Why Do I Need an Appeals Lawyer?
An appeals lawyer handles appeals cases when an individual loses or is dissatisfied with some part of the decision made by the lower court. Appellate procedure in North Carolina is extremely detailed, and it can be a confusing experience. Additionally, there are specific rules and strict deadlines for every aspect of the appeal. An experienced attorney will help answer questions about the appeals process, file correctly, and craft a thorough, convincing appellate brief for your case.
Contact Us Today
The appeals group at Dysart Willis is capable of handling any case on appeal. There are important deadlines associated with your right to appeal. If you want to file an appeal, act quickly, and seek the advice of an experienced lawyer to determine exactly what’s needed to win your appeal. Call us today at 919-747-8380. You can also contact us online to schedule an initial consultation.