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What should I know before filing a criminal appeal?

When you are found guilty of a crime, you might choose to appeal that conviction. It is necessary for your case to meet certain requirements in order to file an appeal. It is possible for a person convicted of a crime to appeal the sentence he or she received or the actual conviction.

Who can appeal a criminal conviction?

Interestingly, the only person who can appeal a criminal case is the defendant. The prosecution can't appeal a case because doing so would be considered double jeopardy. Of course, there are some exceptions to this but those exceptions are very rare.

In what court are criminal appeals filed?

People who are appealing a criminal conviction or sentence have several options for the appeal. They can appeal the conviction or sentence in the state courts, but can't move the appeal to the federal court until all of the state court appeals are exhausted.

What factors are considered in an appeal?

When you appeal a criminal conviction or sentence, you submit a brief to the appellate court. The only factors that can be considered in the appeal are those that are addressed in the brief when you file the appeal. For this reason, you must be sure that you address all factors that you believe warrant the appeal. These must be backed by legal concepts.

Filing an appeal for a criminal conviction or sentence can be a complex undertaking. You need to have at least a basic understanding of the pertinent laws before you file. Errors or omissions in the appeal can mean that your appeal is denied.

Source: FindLaw, "Appeals, Appellate Courts, and Costs," accessed Feb. 25, 2016

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