San Diego Appellate AttorneyCriminal Appeals in San Diego
There are numerous grounds upon which you may be able to appeal a decision or judgement in a criminal case.  Sometimes judges simply make the wrong determination, not properly applying the law or abusing their discretion.  Sometimes prosecutors engage in misconduct that can be grounds for reversing a conviction, and sometimes defense attorneys fail to provide adequate (effective) representation.  Through appeals, criminal defendants can get a second chance at justice.  It is important to note that an appeal is not a new trial, although the appellate court can order a new trial or reverse a conviction if it finds compelling reasons to do so.  But the appellate court will not hear new evidence or witness testimony, and will mostly act upon the existing record from trial and other proceedings.  Misdemeanor appeals go to the Superior Court's Appellate Division, while felony appeals are heard by the California Courts of Appeals.  Federal appeals in San Diego are made before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

The first step in a criminal appeal is to file a notice of appeal after a conviction at a jury or bench trial.  In misdemeanor cases, a Notice of Appeal must be filed within 30 days of a conviction.  In felony cases, the time to file is 60 days.  The appellate courts have very strict criteria and rules which must be followed in any appeal.  Pending appeals, it is possible to have a sentence "stayed" or to have the court set bail to allow an appellant to remain free while the issues surrounding the conviction are further worked out by the appellate division or appellate court.

Courts of appeal will hear complex issues surrounding admissibility of evidence, due care by an attorney, legal interpretations made by the court, jury instructions given, mistrials and a host of other issues.  More academic in nature, appeals require attorneys who are highly intelligent, have strong research skills and can make persuasive argument before the appellate justices.  If the court does find that a prejudicial error occurred, it can reverse the conviction/sentence or remand the case back to the trial court for re-sentencing, to correct the error, or to re-try the case.

If you or someone you know has been convicted of a crime, and you believe that there was an error or injustice along the way, it may be possible to reverse a conviction on appeal.  Please keep in mind that not all mistakes are sufficient to reverse a conviction.  In fact, courts frequently find errors "harmless" and deny appellate relief where there may be some abuse of discretion, malicious prosecution or ineffective assistance of counsel.  As with the criminal trial process, there are no guarantees in criminal appeals.  Consult with some attorneys to discuss whether an appeal would be appropriate in your case.

Nicholas M. Loncar, Esq.
San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney
San Diego Expungements Lawyer
By Nicholas Loncar  


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