The consequences of a criminal conviction can be dire and may include terms of incarceration, high fines, and negative consequences for future career and educational opportunities. Even after a judge or jury convicts you of a crime, however, you may have opportunities to overturn your criminal conviction or reduce your sentence. A Charleston appeals lawyer may be able to assess your case and determine whether pursuing an appeal is a viable option.
Filing an appeal is not an easy task, and you must have substantial grounds as a basis for your appeal. Appeals also require adherence to various procedural requirements that can be difficult, if not impossible, for an average person to navigate. A criminal defense lawyer may be able to assist with your appeal and place you in a stronger position to achieve your goals.
Criminal Appeals in Charleston
An appeal is a request for a higher court to review a decision made by a lower court. The South Carolina Court of Appeals and the South Carolina Supreme Court both conduct reviews of decisions in criminal cases.
The basis for a successful appeal of a criminal conviction can range from legal errors made by the trial judge, to incompetent legal representation. Regardless of the basis, a direct appeal is the most effective means of challenging the outcome of a criminal trial, especially with help from a skilled local attorney.
The appellate process is lengthy, as the reviewing court is likely to take months, or perhaps even a year or more, to decide. The appellate court will either affirm the conviction or reverses the conviction, which means that it will overturn the conviction and sentence.
Procedures for Charleston Appeals
On appeal, the reviewing court does not conduct a new trial, hear testimony, or consider new evidence. Instead, the court reviews the case to determine if the judge or defense attorney made any legal errors at trial that significantly affected the outcome of the case. There are generally no arguments about factual issues.
Filing a Notice of Appeal
Individuals who wish to challenge their criminal conviction on appeal must file a Notice of Appeal in the trial court and the appellate court within ten days. If this deadline is not met, a defendant may lose their right to appeal their conviction. As a result, retaining the assistance of an appeals attorney in Charleston may be essential to seeking review of a criminal conviction.
Filing Written Briefs
Following the submission of the Notice of Appeal, the appealing party and the attorney for the state will file written briefs in which they argue their respective positions. The defendant will argue that the appellate court should overturn the conviction and the state will argue that the conviction was legally accurate and should stand as issued by the trial court.
Contact a Charleston Appeals Attorney for Help
A Charleston appeals lawyer may be able to investigate the circumstances surrounding your case and decide whether there is a worthy ground for appeal in your case. No matter the situation, you may be wise to contact legal counsel as quickly as possible following a criminal conviction so that you are aware of all available options.