How Does an Appeal Work, and What if Mine Is Denied?
If you have been charged with a crime, convicted, and sentenced in Texas, it is your legal right to file an appeal against the court’s decision in your case (as long as the court’s decision was not based on your guilty plea). Appeals represent an important legal mechanism for attempting to right wrongs and correct legal errors. If your appeal efforts do not have the effect you hoped for, it can feel like a devastating blow, but it is not necessarily the end of the story.
The Legal Basis for Your Appeal
If you have been convicted of and sentenced for a crime, it is your right to file an appeal with a higher court, which is the appellate court. The intention of an appeal is to review the lower court’s legal decision for legal errors or mistaken judgments. It should be noted here that the U.S. Courts website reports that fewer than nine percent of all appeals, including criminal appeals, led to reversals of lower court rulings in 2015. In making its determination on the case under appeal, the appellate court has three options that include:
Uphold the lower court’s ruling, which means your appeal is denied
Reverse the lower court’s ruling
Modify the lower court’s ruling
If your appeal is denied, there is a next step you can take, which is petitioning the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
Requesting a Rehearing
If your appeal is denied, your astute criminal defense lawyer’s first step will likely be to file a motion for a rehearing with the appellate court. This action amounts to a request that the court reverses its original ruling. Still, such a reversal is not likely unless mitigating circumstances or evidence has come to light in the interim. If your motion for a rehearing is denied, you can move forward by submitting a Petition for Discretionary Review in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
Your Petition for Discretionary Review
You have 30 days from the time of your motion for a rehearing to submit your Petition for Discretionary Review with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. This petition is a legal document that outlines what makes your case special and why the original appellate court’s decision should be overturned.
Common Issues Behind Appeals
While every appeal has its own unique set of circumstances, there are some common issues that tend to drive appeals, including:
The suppression of evidence
The suppression of a statement
Lack of sufficient evidence
Inadequate legal representation
Improper jury instructions
Misconduct on the part of a juror
An unlawful or excessive sentence
Call an Experienced Killeen Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard has been serving Killeen, Texas, for more than 20 years, and he is proud to help clients like you obtain just case resolutions – including at the appellate level. We care about your case, so please do not wait to contact us online or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.