Filing An Appeal Against Your Federal Appeal
If you have been convicted of a white collar crime in federal crime, it is important to know the rights that you have in terms of filing an appeal. At the same time, this process can seem to be rather daunting. This speaks to the importance of having a competent and experienced attorney who can not only file the appeal on your behalf, but can also successfully walk you through the process from start to finish.
Understand What A Federal Criminal Appeal Is Not
It seems that a common line of thinking with a federal appeal is that this is an opportunity to have a new trial. That is not what an appeal is. In fact, evidence already presented at the trial is not going to be re-opened at the appeal. The appeal does not even resemble the original court trial. In reality, most of the appeals process is submitted via written briefs and is conducted behind closed doors.
An appeal is your opportunity to allege that certain errors of a legal nature took place during the trial itself. If this can be proven, the judge may decide in your favor or possibly order a new trial. During the process, you will not be called to the stand, nor will any witnesses. The court is simply going to look at your argument, read through the rebuttal submitted by the prosecutor, and then render their decision accordingly. This is why it is so important to have a professional attorney on your side who is willing to vigorously fight for your rights.
It All Starts With the Notice of Appeal
It is very important to understand that a notice of appeal is not the same thing as an appeal itself. When you wish to appeal a federal criminal conviction, a notice of appeals must first be filed in a timely manner. The notice is actually a short document that is only one or two pages in length. The purpose of it is to signify to the district and appellate courts that you intend to appeal the conviction. It is important to remember that there is a strict time period during which this notice must be filed, usually within ten days of the original conviction being handed down.
The thing to remember here is that you do not need to have the entire appeal ready in ten days. That is the misconception that many people accused of a federal crime have of the process. It is simply the notice of appeal that must be filed. At the same time, you will need to have a lawyer ready to file this notice, and that does take time. The attorney will need to be formally retained and have agreed to the increased workload that will result from actually following through on the entire appeals process. This is why it is important to consult with a seasoned attorney as soon as possible.
The Federal Appeals Process Takes Time
This might be difficult to hear, but patience is required throughout the federal criminal appeals process. It can take months at the low end, and possibly even more than a year for a decision on the appeal to even be rendered. There are a combination of factors that lead us to this. The federal criminal court system, by its very structure, is slow to begin with. In addition, there are many appeals going through the appellate system at any one time. The convergence of factors leads to a lengthy period to review all of the material related with each appeal that has been lodged. The good news is that technology is beginning to speed up the process somewhat by allowing for the electronic delivery of briefs.
If you are involved in a federal criminal trial, it is important to prepare for the possibility of an appeal. Consult with a lawyer experienced in this area. Do not delay.