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When can you appeal a criminal conviction?

On Behalf of | Jul 6, 2023 | Criminal Defense

A criminal conviction is a judgment made by a court of law that a person is guilty of a crime. In some cases, the person convicted of the crime—or formally known as the defendant—may have the right to appeal their conviction. But when is it possible for a defendant to do so?

Appeals can be a complicated and, sometimes, lengthy process. Regardless, it’s a way individuals can challenge the outcome of their case and potentially have their conviction overturned or their sentence reduced.

If the defendant plans to appeal their case, they must know whether they are eligible to do so or not.

Eligible to appeal within 30 days

In most criminal cases, a defendant may be eligible to appeal their conviction if they file a notice of appeal within 30 days after their conviction. To be eligible, they must also complete the required documents and payments, and their grounds for appeal must be valid and based on errors or issues with the trial court’s decision that affected their rights.

Ineligible to appeal a case

A defendant becomes ineligible to appeal their case if they entered into a valid plea agreement that waived their right to appeal. Additionally, they are ineligible to appeal their case due to the following:

  • Missed the deadline for filing a notice of appeal or failed to complete the required documents and payments
  • The appeal is based on an issue that was not raised during the trial
  • The defendant has already exhausted their appeals
  • The higher court did not grant the defendant’s application for leave to appeal

The appeals process can be confusing and overwhelming, and many people are unsure of when and how it can be used. While it may seem like the legal process ends at sentencing, that is not necessarily the case. It can be possible for defendant to appeal their conviction and seek a better outcome.

Whether it’s through a reduced sentence or a complete overturning of the conviction, an appeal can provide a way for defendants to move forward, start anew and get a little freedom back.