I want to appeal my sentence
I was just sentenced and I want to appeal. What is my next step?
Know the Process
If convicted, a defendant may appeal his conviction by filing a Motion for Post-Conviction Relief with the trial judge, or by taking a direct appeal to the Court of Appeals. The conviction will either be reversed or upheld. If the conviction is reversed, a new trial will be held unless the prosecutor decides not to proceed. If the conviction is upheld, the defendant may try to get the Supreme Court to review the case. There is no automatic right, though, to have the case heard, and the Supreme Court only accepts about 6% of all cases filed. The Court of Appeals is designed to correct errors made by the trial court, including procedural errors, while the Supreme Court focuses mainly on constitutional issues that will have a broad, state-wide impact. The Supreme Court will not review for errors made during the trial unless the errors rise to a level that fundamentally caused an unfair trial.
File the Papers
If you wish to appeal your case, have your trial attorney file a Notice of Intent to Seek Post-Conviction Relief. This must be done within 20 days of sentencing. Once this has been done, seek the services of an attorney who specializes in criminal law and will be able to analyze the issues that may have a chance at appeal. These issues include illegal searches and seizure, lack of probable cause to stop or arrest, or a coerced confession.
Keep The Ball Rolling
The appellate attorney must order the transcript and file a Motion for Post-Conviction Relief with the trial court, or if the issues have been sufficiently addressed at the trial, file a Notice of Appeal with the Court of Appeals. Be aware that winning appeals is extremely time-consuming and intricate work, and it’s important that an experienced attorney with a proven track record is the one to handle your appeal.