If you are curious about what a federal criminal appeal is like, this overview will provide some of the most important information to know.
A General Overview of Federal Criminal Appeals for Defendants
The best way to get information that is helpful in your criminal case is by consulting with and then retaining a federal criminal appeal lawyer. The basis for your federal criminal appeal will be rooted in what happened in the district court trial and whether there are any openings to take issue with possible errors that the judge or prosecutor made in the case so far.
How Federal Criminal Appeals are Handled
While the criminal trial is completed in the district court, there are 13 appellate courts in the country that handle federal criminal appeals. You will be able to tell the circuit court where your appeal will be heard based on the location of the district court case. As soon as you are convicted of a federal crime, you need to consider whether or not to appeal because there is a strict deadline to file a notice of appeal to get the case on the docket.
Following the docketing of the notice of appeal, there will be a schedule for both sides to file briefs on the issues that the defendant seeks to raise. It is important that you meet all of the deadlines. The clerk of the circuit court cannot give you guidance on how to handle your federal criminal appeal. That role is reserved for your federal criminal appeal attorney.
Based on the arguments in the briefs and any motions filed, a small panel of judges will decide the issues on appeal. This may result in your conviction being affirmed or overturned. If the conviction is overturned, the case is sent back to the trial court judge. The appellate court will decide whether the case will be tried again or the judgment overturned by the district court without another trial.
Deciding Whether the Federal Criminal Appeals Makes Sense for Your Case
The top reason why a defendant may choose not to file a federal criminal appeal is that they may not want a new trial. There could be ways that the prosecution could introduce new evidence in another crack at the trial, which could make matters worse for the defendant. For instance, the new evidence could give the sentencing judge grounds to impose a harsher penalty upon conviction.
You should also remember that the federal criminal appeal process can be timely and costly. It takes significant time and resources to craft an effective federal criminal appeal.
What Happens Next After a Federal Criminal Appeal
If you do not prevail in your federal criminal appeal, you have the option to request that the appellate court reconsider your issue. This is rarely successful. You can also petition for a writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court. Some defendants try to have their sentence reduced by filing motions for post-conviction sentence modifications.
Some Factors to Consider in Selecting Federal Criminal Appeals Lawyers
In deciding whether a federal criminal appeal is the next step in your case, you should speak with a federal criminal appeal law firm as soon as possible to know what your options are. Time is of the essence in meeting filing deadlines. It is possible to lose your federal criminal appeal right if you miss a deadline. You may also have already given up your right to a federal criminal appeal if you signed a plea agreement that included a federal criminal appeal waiver with the government. A competent federal criminal appeal will be able to review your case, including any plea agreement, and advise you of your options. This appeal procedure is far too detailed and difficult to handle by yourself.