A criminal appeal is a review of a trial court’s activities to see if any legal errors were made. For example, you or your attorney may believe that a piece of evidence was tampered with or that the lower court made a serious error of law.
There are several reasons why you might want to seek an appeal including:
- Believing the evidence isn’t strong enough to support the verdict
- A claim of ineffective assistance of counsel
- A claim that the lower court abused its own discretion when making an erroneous ruling
- Believing that the lower court made an error in interpreting the law or applying the law
An example of a plain error would be if a judge sentences the defendant incorrectly. For example, if there is a maximum sentence of 10 years for a crime and the judge issues a sentence for 20, the defendant and their attorney could appeal the sentence.
It is more difficult to win an appeal based on insufficient weight of the evidence provided. However, if you can provide proof that a judge disallowed evidence that might have changed the outcome of your trial, then an appellate court would be more likely to grant your appeal.
Abuse of discretion is interesting, because judges do have a wide range of discretion when sentencing defendants. However, if a ruling is clearly unfair, not supported by the facts of the case or the law that affects the case or is erroneous, then an appeal could be beneficial and granted.
Your attorney will support you as you look into an appeal so that you can decide on the best method to do so.