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The Process Of Filling a Federal Criminal Appeal
The prospect of any criminal conviction is not an appealing one. When you combine that with the reality of being found guilty of a federal crime, the anxiety and feeling of hopelessness can be rather overwhelming. This is why it is so important to take a deep breath and consider your options on appeal. While this does not mean that you get a new trial, it does mean that you have the right to argue that an injustice of some sort was committed during the trial. You will need a competent to take care of this process for you, and a whole lot of patience.
Just What Is A Federal Appeal?
During a federal criminal trial, many procedural points of law must converge all at once to constitute the formal court proceedings. There are times when legal issues come up that are not properly dealt with during the trial, and possibly certain injustices that were committed that need to be considered. Either you were ruled against on these matters during the trial, or they only came to light shortly after the verdict was announced. Whatever the case might be, you may have grounds to appeal the verdict based on this.
You need to know that this does not mean that you can introduce new evidence, call witnesses back to the stand, or re-do certain portions of the trial in any way. This is not what an appeal is. You will need to have a lawyer ready to write legal briefs that are then sent to the Appellate court to be examined and the merits of those arguments decided upon. Once that is done, you will have to wait until a decision is ultimately rendered.
It All Begins With A Simple Notice
It is very important that you understand how to start the appeals process. You cannot simply tell the judge that you wish to appeal your guilty verdict. There needs to be a reason that is solidly grounded in legal theory. This is why it is so important to immediately consult with an attorney who has experience successfully filing federal criminal appeals. Keep in mind that this is an exhaustive process, so you will make sure that your attorney is on board with you before an appeal is ever filed.
To begin, your lawyer will need to file a Notice of Appeal. This is not the actual appeal itself, as that can actually take months to draft. What the notice provides in an indication to the Appellate Court that an appeal is coming from your side. This is a simple one or two page written document that outlines your basis for appeal. That must be filed within ten days of the verdict being announced. This is a strict deadline, so do not miss it. Make sure you have your lawyer ready to file that notice at the first possible opportunity.
What Happens Next?
It needs to be noted that the appeals process is not quick. You should not be under the impression that your conviction can be quickly over turned, or that a new trial could be called for. The process simply does not work like that. You will need to wait while your lawyers file all of the necessary briefs to establish the basis for your appeal. While much of this is done electronically today, you must still wait for your case to actually be reviewed by the court. This could take over a year, during which time you will be forced to wait in order to find out what your future holds for you.
If you have been convicted of a federal crime, speak with a federal appeals attorney right away. You need someone with experience and someone who understands how the system works. This is how you will be in the best position possible to hopefully have your conviction overturned on appeal.