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Can I appeal?

The immediate penalties and long-term consequences of a sex crimes conviction are incredibly serious. Depending on the severity of the charge, you may have to be on the sex offender registry and face restrictions on where you can live and work, even after you have served any prison time. However, a conviction isn't always the end of the case. In some situations, you may be able to appeal the trial court's ruling.

Not ever case is eligible for appeal, however. There are certain conditions that must be met in order to have a basis for appeal. The most important is that there must have been an error in the way the case was handled at the trial level. However, not all errors are grounds for appeal. You must show that there was a substantial error and that it may have affected the outcome of the case if the error had not been made.

One of the most common grounds for appeal is what is referred to as a plain error. This means that the trial court made an error that affected the defendant's rights. It's important to note that this can still be used as grounds for an appeal even if the aggrieved party knew about the error and did not bring it to the court's attention.

A lesser-used but still available grounds for appeal is that the evidence did not support the trial court's verdict. This is a more difficult avenue and is one you should discuss in detail with your criminal defense attorney to make sure that the situations of your case apply.

Source: FindLaw, "The Basis for a Criminal Appeal," accessed May 13, 2016

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