If a trial judge made mistakes during your federal criminal case, you might have grounds to appeal the outcome. However, successfully briefing and arguing one of these cases requires a strong knowledge of the law, which is why you might benefit from working with an experienced federal criminal defense appellate attorney. A South Carolina federal appeals lawyer could offer advice on your right to file an appeal with a higher court and may be able to help you fight for your desired outcome.
What are Grounds for Appealing a Criminal Case?
An appeal is usually not an opportunity to re-litigate the facts of a case or, in most cases, present new evidence. Instead, an appeal is a chance for a defendant to let an appellate court know about any legal errors made during a criminal case. Examples of legal errors that might be grounds for appeal include:
- The trial judge allowed the prosecutor to use illegally obtained evidence
- The trial judge ruled incorrectly on objections made by a defense attorney at a trial or at the sentencing hearing
- The defendant was not properly advised of their rights during certain phases of the case
Successfully arguing an appeal can be complicated and usually requires a deep understanding of federal statutes, legal rules, Constitutional rights, and previous court decisions, as well as adherence to strict deadlines. A knowledgeable South Carolina federal appeals attorney may be able to help craft the necessary arguments for an appeal within the given time frame.
What are the Possible Outcomes of a Federal Appeal?
Appellate courts have the authority to correct errors made by trial courts. Specifically, if the appellate court is convinced that the lower court made a mistake that probably affected the case outcome, it may reverse the case.
When appellate courts issue a reversal, they usually send the case back to the trial court with new instructions, which might be to hold a new trial, re-sentence the defendant, or dismiss the case. However, if the appellate court does not feel that the trial court made significant mistakes, it could affirm the judgment, therefore enforcing the outcome or sentence initially imposed.
Release from Custody Pending Appeal
Appeals can take a very long time—ranging from months to years depending on the circumstances—before they are finally resolved. For someone sentenced to prison, this wait can be unfair, so under 18 United States Code §3141(b) a judicial officer—such as an appellate judge—may order that a person be released while their appeal is pending.
However, a judge is not required to release a person from custody during the appellate process, so it may be wise for a defendant to have a federal criminal appeals lawyer in South Carolina argue for their release while appealing a conviction. When making this decision, the court generally considers factors like the severity of the crime, any other criminal history, danger to the community, and any likelihood that the person would flee if released.
Contact a South Carolina Federal Appeals Attorney for Help
Federal appeals are often challenging but provide an important opportunity to fight for justice. A South Carolina federal appeals lawyer helps you stand up for your rights if laws were applied unfairly in your case.
There are strict time limits on appealing a criminal case, so it may be important to contact legal counsel immediately to discuss your options. Call now to schedule your first consultation.