Criminal Law – Appeals

In a criminal law trial, the defendant has the right to appeal if he or she loses at the trial level. To appeal the findings of the judge or jury, the defendant must generally file a written notice of appeal within thirty days of the decision; however, this deadline may vary from state to state.

The written notice of appeal should be filed with the clerk of the appellate court in the jurisdiction where the conviction was entered. The defendant or his or her attorney should then review the record of proceedings, which includes a transcript of the hearing and all evidence entered at the trial.

The defendant then has the opportunity to submit a written brief arguing the issues upon which he or she believes the trial court committed reversible error. The prosecution also has the opportunity to respond in a written brief. Deadlines for the submission of the parties’ written briefs vary according to state law.

The parties may be permitted to argue orally the appeal to the appellate court. The appellate court may affirm the conviction, reverse the conviction or remand the case back to the trial court for a new trial.


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